by Chris Chavez, Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM
Summer brings a lot of sunshine and great opportunities for exercising outdoors including running, cycling, swimming, pick-up games of soccer or basketball, golf and more. Getting fit outside during the summer can help add extra enjoyment to your workouts, but remember that as temperatures rise, there is an increased risk of heat-related disorders such as dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
In order to keep itself cool during exercise, the body increases blood flow to the skin to dissipate body heat in the form of sweat. High summer temperatures can increase your body’s sweat production during outdoor exercise, which can be dangerous if you’re not taking precautions. Here are five tips to help you enjoy your outdoor exercise safely this summer.
:: Stay hydrated. Exercising in high heat can cause you to sweat more than usual. Hydrating beforehand can help your body better regulate its temperature. If you need help determining your hydration status, pay attention to the color of your urine. The lighter in color, the better. Make sure to drink a glass of water or two before you go out to exercise and take a water bottle with you. It is generally best to have a drink of water at least every 15 minutes. After your work out, drink plenty of water or a diluted sports drink to help replenish fluids lost.
:: Exercise during the early or later times of the day. The hottest parts of the day are between 10AM and 3PM, so avoid working out during these times to help reduce the risk of dehydration and heat stroke.
:: Work out in the shade. If you must work out during the heat of the day, exercise in areas that have more trees or that are covered by a canopy. Public parks and running paths are good options.
:: Wear light, loose, light-colored clothing. Loose clothing allows your body to dissipate heat away from the body. Light colors will reflect heat from sunlight away from your clothes, keeping you cool.
:: Listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or nauseated, stop exercising immediately. Exercise should be challenging, but never cause illness or injury.
Getting outside and enjoying the weather can make your workouts a lot of fun. The above tips will help keep you cool and safe during the hottest part of the year. Get outside and get active!