Beat the Heat: Five Tips

The summer of 2012 has been one of the hottest summers on record and when you are exercising or doing outdoor activities it is important to keep cool. Most fitness routines can be demanding and the added heat can trigger heatstroke. Use these five distinct tips to keep cool and safe during humid and hot weather.

  1. The hottest part of the day is between 10 am and 3 pm. With this in mind, workout early in the morning or later in the evening. If you are exercising outside, make sure the sun is not directly overhead; the height of the sun is a direct factor in UV rays and heat strokes.
  2. Make sure you wear the proper clothing for the hot weather. Your body cools itself by sweating sowear loose fitting clothes that allow perspiration to evaporate from your body.  Lighter clothing colors do not absorb as much heat from the sun as darker colors and make sure you wear a hat or sun visor to keep the sun out of your eyes. Sunglasses can also work.
  3. When exercising, working or playing outside wear sunscreen. Sunscreen also helps to keep your skin from cooling off quickly and using up fluids. Use sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone or a chemical compound that can cause hormone disruptions. Apply sunscreen at least thirty minutes before going outside to get the full benefits.
  4. Make sure your keep hydrated. Sweating dehydrates the body quickly and you need to drink at least four to eight ounces every fifteen minutes while you work out in the sun. If you exercise for over an hour you also need to drink a sports drink with electrolytes or have a healthy snack. Be aware that you will lose salt due to sweat and salt is necessary for body functions.
  5. Monitor your heart rate when working outside. Your body increases the blood flow to your skin to help cool you off. This blood movement actually moves blood from your muscles and can elevate your heart rate. If you are not used to exercising in the heat you will find your target heart rate will be reached with much less effort. Take your exercise programs slow and increase your intensity as you learn your heart rate and body conditions.

The best advice for hot weather exercising is to keep cool, hydrated, and continually check your heart rate. If you must exercise or work outside during the heat of the day it is a good idea to find a patch of shade to keep the sun off your body. It might also be a great idea to find a gym to exercise in since most commercial and private gyms are air conditioned and maintained for workouts. The best advice is for you to work out early in the morning or early in the evening. By following these tips you can maintain your daily exercise routines and still stay cool, safe, and energized.