Summer is here and with it are plentiful opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. If you have been looking to start a workout routine, this is a perfect time! Also, many trainers say that there are benefits of working out in high temperatures. It builds endurance and helps your body learn to cool off more efficiently. However, exercising in the summer heat also comes with significant dangers. If you are planning to sweat it out in hot weather, it is imperative that you take precautions to enjoy your workout session safely.
Stay Hydrated. Then Hydrate Some More
You’ve likely heard this before, but don’t underestimate the importance of proper hydration. Humans need water, and especially so when they exercise in the heat. Before you head out, drink a glass or two of water. Bring a bottle of water or even a hydration pack, like the CamelBak. Every 15 minutes, have a sip — even if you're not thirsty. When you're finished with your workout session, take in a couple more glasses of water.
Exactly how much water your body needs depends on how hard you worked out, outside temperatures, and your body’s size. Naturally, larger bodies need more water for optimal function than smaller bodies. If you don't consume enough water, you can become dehydrated and experience light-headedness and queasiness. If not addressed, this can lead to kidney failure and, in severe situations, death.
Listen to your body. If your body temperature rises above 106, the resulting injuries can be extremely dangerous. This means your body can no longer cool itself, and you can then suffer heatstroke. For extended workouts lasting over one hour, you may also want to consider having a sports drink, which provides electrolytes and potassium that are lost through sweat. Replenishing these minerals can rehydrate and rejuvenate you after a long, hot workout.
Find the Perfect Timing
Typically, the hottest times of the day are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Try to schedule your workout early in the morning or later in the evening. The ideal times are before 7:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. Another advantage of an early-morning workout is that you get it out the way, and this can be an invigorating start to your day. If a morning workout isn't possible, you can end your day with a boost of endorphins, which can help ease stress and tension.
Keep it Light
When exercising in high temperatures, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing that wicks away sweat and reflects the sun. It can be too easy to overdress, especially when you cover your legs, which carry the most active and heat-generating muscles. Sunscreen is also vital when exercising outdoors. A sunburn can make you miserable and put you out of commission for some time if you're not careful. An airy hat with a brim and some lightweight sunglasses can guard your face and help avoid headaches.
One more important measure is to take it slow. Don't expect to achieve any personal records when the temperature and humidity are soaring. Gradually acclimate yourself to the weather so that your body eventually becomes used to it.
If you feel any discomfort, nausea, or dizziness even five minutes into your workout, stop immediately and rest in a cool area. Overexertion will only set you back in your health and fitness goals and eventually burn you out. Improve your fitness and endurance levels one day at a time so that you can continue to have fun in the sun.
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