5 Tips for Exercising in the Heat
Summer is finally here and the heat is on! This means more people are taking their workout routines outdoors. Cycling, running, urban boot camps, and even yoga classes move from gyms and studios to parks, waterfronts and cityscapes.
We wait for this all year, but with added time spent outside we also increase the amount we sweat; therefore, the risk of dehydration and heatstroke increases as well. When it comes to outdoor summer fitness, think preventative maintenance as opposed to damage control. With a little prior planning you can prevent poor performance. Here are a few quick tips to keep you safe:
- Hydrate! This cannot be stressed enough. As soon as you wake up start drinking your water in preparation for the day’s activities. Even if you’re going on your run, bike, or to yoga class first thing, drink a glass of water beforehand. When it’s hot outside we sweat more. When we sweat more we lose more salts and electrolytes from our bodies. It’s important to replace these salts, but forget about those sugary electric drinks sold in plastic bottles for convenience. Try making your own homemade electrolyte mix! It’s easy, less expensive and more environmental. (See recipe below). Drink a glass before your activity, then two as soon as you get home. If you have a long training day planned, bring it with you! If you are going to be out 30 minutes or longer, plan to hydrate during your activity. Take a sip every 15 minutes to prevent the onset of thirst.
- Choose smart clothing. You may have heard the expression “cotton kills.” Cotton traps moisture making a garment heavy and wet. Lightweight moisture wicking fabrics made from synthetic fibers will keep you cooler by wicking moisture from your skin and allowing it to evaporate off the fabric. Technical clothing also helps to prevent chafing on a long run.
- Invest in accessories. No, not the latest in fashion trends (unless it’s a heart rate monitor)! Obviously on a bike ride you wear a helmet… right? During runs, a hat is nice to keep the sun off your face and lips. If you’ve ever had sunburned lips you know how brutal it can be. If you’re like me and get too hot with a hat on, get a cap with a vented back or try a visor. You may feel goofy, but trust me, you’ll look even worse with a sunburn! Sunglasses with UV protection are a must to prevent damage to your retinas, plus help keep those little lines at bay. Save the crow’s feet for your yoga mat!
- Wear Sunscreen! This is often ignored since you don’t want to feel greasy or sweaty while you are active. I understand, but the risk of skin cancer is just too great. I’m a big fan of Headhunter products which is geared for surfers. I use their lip balm, clear face stick, and sunscreen. Since they are developed for surfers they stay put and won’t sting your eyes when you sweat.
- Consider the elements. Plan your outdoor exercise early in the morning before 10 a.m., or in the evening before sunset. Between 12-5 p.m. tends to be the hottest part of the day. Try to avoid extreme activity during these times, especially if there’s a heat advisory or an ozone alert. The pollutants in the air aren’t worth it. There are times that you’re just going to have to stay inside where it’s nice and cool. Take care. Honor your body. When it comes to health and wellness, sometimes backing off becomes the exercise or practice in and of itself. Chances are you may need a break anyway. Use this time to take in that yoga class you’ve been neglecting!
Carri’s Summer Electrolyte Concoction:
• 1 quart of water
• Juice from 1 lemon
• Juice from 1 lime
• Juice from 1 orange
• Squeeze of agave nectar or honey (for sweetness & carbs)
• 1 teaspoon of salt (grind it for easier absorption)
• Chunk of ginger that has been juiced (if you don’t have a juicer you can grate, slice or choose to skip it)
The basics are the water, salt and citrus of your choice. Play around with different ratios of the ingredients. You’re sure to find a blend that suits your taste.