Hot weather: great for pool and beach days, maybe not so much for cardio days. Although we always miss it during the cold, winter days, the heat can be a real pain. It can put a serious damper on your performance – or worse. On the worst days, it can cause some major health issues if you’re not careful. So before you hit the great out of doors to get your sweat on, read through these hot weather exercise tips & precautions to make sure you get the most from your summer workouts.
Play It Cool with the Right Gear
Rule number one on our list of hot weather exercise tips? Make sure you’ve got the right gear.
Unlike other animals, we homo sapiens sweat to keep ourselves cool. The cooling process happens as the moisture from the sweat evaporates off our skin, wicking away the heat. When that sweat stays trapped against your skin, it can’t evaporate. Long story short: no evaporation, no cooling.
But breathability isn’t the only factor you’ll need to consider – because the heat isn’t the only thing you’re fighting. On the hottest of summer days, you’ll also need protection from the sun. We’ve talked about how you can get the most out of your sunscreens, but there’s more to sun protection than that.
Many modern fabrics now have UPF protection. Make sure you check the product descriptions closely, because not all fabrics are made the same. While long-sleeves and full length-leggings will give you the most protection from those nasty UV rays, you’ll also need to take temperature into consideration. Finding the right summer gear is a balance that is well-worth researching.
Overheating under the summer sun is no joke. From heat exhaustion to heat stroke, the side effects of not staying cool can be deadly. But staying safe in the hot summer weather is about more than just staying cool – you’ve gotta stay hydrated, too.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration is one of the main factors behind heat illnesses like heat cramps and heat exhaustion. But how much water do you need? While the numbers vary slightly, it’s generally wise to prehydrate – that means you should hydrate a little bit more before you start working out. Then, after you’re done, you need to rehydrate throughout the remainder of your day to help your body recover from all of the moisture that you lost from sweating.
Timing Is Everything
Like boiling an egg, exercising in the summer heat is a matter of timing. Depending on which part of the world you live in, timing your exercise during the cooler parts of the day can do a world of wonders for your performance. While the sun is at its highest (and strongest) around noon, the temperature will continue to climb until later in the day. For most places, you’ll find that temps will continue to climb until about 4 pm, and then fall off as the sun sets.
Instead of struggling through your normal cardio routine under the boiling noonday sun, do it while the sun is still waking up. Struggling to get up early enough? Try setting your gear out the night before so that you don’t have to fuss with it in the morning. Or, if you’re not a morning person, trying fitting your routine in at night. A quick, pre-dinner workout might be just the thing you need to decompress after a long day at work.
Break It Down
Hot summer days aren’t meant to be your marathon days. If you normally work out over long periods of time, you might try breaking up your routine throughout the day.
As with any extreme weather, your body will slowly adjust (to a certain point). The more you workout in the heat, the more it will understand how to cope and thrive in those conditions. It’s all a matter of conditioning, and breaking your routine down into smaller, more digestible bites is an easy way to make sure you stay safe.
Working out under the hot summer sun can be exhausting – and dangerous to your health. Hopefully, these hot weather exercise tips will set you up for success this summer. So go on and enjoy those sunny rays and sweat it out. Take advantage of this beautiful weather before those chilly, winter days are here again.