Love to exercise outdoors even when it’s hot?
Your body temperature can rise as high as 5 degrees above normal when you’re out for a run, playing golf, tennis, or biking in the heat. That’s the danger zone. There are several keys to exercising safely in the heat.
The American Council on Exercise published an article called Fit Facts delineating the following:
#1 Be aware of the following signals your body may be sending you.
- Feeling uncharacteristically fatigued
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Rapid heart rate
Stop exercising immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Cool down as fast as you can using cool wet towels or ice packs.
#2 Get ahead of the curve when it comes to hydration. Drink plenty of water before your outdoor activity. Then drink 7-10 oz of fluid for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are also lost and need to replenish, especially if you are exercising for longer than an hour. Coconut water or one of the “sports drinks” on the market should do the trick.
#3 Decrease your exercise intensity when it’s hot by slowing down and resting more frequently.
#4 Observe the Heat Stress Index to decide whether to go outside for your workout. Google: Heat Stress Index to see the guide that correlates the temperature with the humidity and gives guidance on the safety of exercising outdoors. Generally, the higher the humidity, the harder it is for your body to evaporate sweat, which allows your body too naturally cool itself.
#5 Your exercise clothing should be light weight, loose fitting moisture wicking material with minimal coverage to allow your skin to sweat freely. Wear a hat or visor and sunglasses.
#6 The better shape you are in, the easier it will be for you to acclimate to higher temperatures because you have a greater blood volume to carry oxygen efficiently to and from your limbs to aid in the cooling process. Hydration is still super important even if you are in good condition.
On days when it’s particularly uncomfortable outside, choose a swimming workout to stay cool and maintain your fitness.
If you are lucky enough to have access to a health club, you have lots of cool exercise options.
The duress of working out in the heat can make taking a REST day even more important.
Your body will give you stress signals; you just have to be attentive.