There are many benefits of exercising outdoors, since fresh air is great for your health, and spending time in nature is mood-boosting. However, exercising safely in the summer heat is something to be cognizant of. When it’s hot outside, you don’t want to end up getting heat exhaustion, heat stroke, a sunburn or start experiencing nausea or dizziness. It’s great to spend time outdoors, but you have to be especially careful when you’re physically exerting yourself in the heat.
In the summer, many people enjoy a good outdoor beach workout, using the sand as extra resistance, while others enjoy an outdoor run in the sunshine. As long as you follow the tips in this article for exercising safely in the summer heat, you should be okay to workout outdoors this summer. However, if your city is experiencing a heat wave or extremely hot weather conditions, it’s best to stick to your air-conditioned gym.
Below are 8 tips for exercising safely in the summer heat:
1. Aim for early morning or early evening workouts to avoid the midday sun
The hottest part of the day is typically 11am – 4pm. It’s best to avoid exercising outside in the summer heat during these hours. If you plan on going for a run outside, aim for earlier in the morning, or in the evening, before sunset. An added bonus of the latter is that you can time your workout with the sunset, and get some beautiful scenery as a result.
2. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and a hat
A mesh sports hat will keep your face shaded from the sun without being too hot or heavy to wear. Lightweight athletic clothing is also important, and ensure you wear light colors. When you wear black or dark colors in the summer, you’ll get much hotter, much faster, since dark colors absorb the heat.
Some athletic clothing companies have specially designed materials that circulate air and keep you cooler. Try to avoid tight-fitted clothing, as less air will circulate as you exercise, making you feel hotter.
3. Drink lots of water
It’s important to drink lots of water when you exercise at any time, but in the heat, you’ll need to drink even more water. To exercise safely in the summer heat, you should drink at least 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes. You should also drink water before and after your workout, as well. If you’re taking a water break during an outdoor workout in the heat, you may also wish to splash some of your cool water on your face and neck, to help cool yourself down.
4. Try water aerobics
When it’s really hot out, many people find that they can enjoy an outdoor workout without getting heat stroke by exercising in a chilled pool. This is known as ‘aqua fitness’ or ‘water aerobics’. Check out these 6 water aerobics exercises to get fit at the pool this summer.
5. Try to incorporate shade or water for exercising safely in the summer heat
If you like to go for a run outside and then do some circuit training at your local park, plan to do at least half of your workout in the shade. For example, if your 30 minute run is mostly in the sun, find a shaded spot at the park to do your strength circuit.
You could also try to incorporate water into your workout to stay cool, especially if you have a pool, or a nearby lake that’s safe to swim in. This leads us to our next tip:
6. Listen to your body and stop if you feel dizzy, faint, or light-headed
If you are exercising outdoors in the summer heat, you must listen to your body and pay attention to the signs that it’s time to stop your workout and find the nearest air conditioning. If you’re suddenly feeling dizzy, light-headed, weak, nauseous, or you suddenly have intense muscle cramps, you need to stop.
7. Wear sunblock and keep the outdoor component of your workout short
It goes without saying to wear plenty of sunblock if you’re exercising in the sun. In general, safely exercising in the summer heat typically also involves considering a shorter workout to minimize the chances of getting heat stroke.
If it’s hot out, less than 1 hour of your workout should take place outdoors in the sun. The rest of your workout should take place in the shade or indoors.
8. End your workout with a swim or a cool shower
When you need to cool your body down, take a swim in a pool if you have one, or take a cool shower. If your workout happens to involve water, that’s great, as watersports can be awesome summer workouts. If you’re kayaking, for example, take breaks to swim if you can, and if the water is safe for swimming. This will keep your body cool.