It may be hot outside, but there is no stopping you! Here are a few tips to stay safe exercising in the heat:
- Drink extra water before, during and after your exercise.
- If you are going to be outside sweating for more than an hour or two, drink sports drinks with electrolytes. For extended sweating, if you drink water only, it dilutes your stores of electrolytes and can cause muscle cramps...or worse. For less than 1-2 hours, water only is usually fine.
- During the day, increase your fruits and veggies and stay away from greasy foods.
- Wear a visor or hat that allows for airflow.
- Try wearing a thin cotton long-sleeve shirt. Not only is it added protection against sunburn, it often keeps you cooler than a t-shirt. Experiment as to whether a t-shirt or thin long-sleeve shirt is cooler for you.
- When possible, exercise before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m.
- Exercising at lunch? A walk in a shaded park is perfect.
- If you aren't used to the heat yet, make your outdoor workouts shorter.
- Take a break in the middle of your cardio session.
- Decrease your intensity. Who says you have to give it your all when it is 100 degrees F? (And if you are training for an event and must increase your intensity...be smart...we have treadmills in air-conditioned gyms these days.)
- Plan some extra cool-down time at the end of your workout.
You don't have to stop exercising when it is hot. You just have to prepare and be smart. And, as always, HAVE FUN!