Exercise is hard, but with the soaring temperatures of summer, it is often harder. Exercising in the heat can put your body under extra stress.
Both exercise itself, as well as the air temperature and humidity can increase your body’s core temperature. Consequently, your body sends more blood to circulate the skin, leaving less blood for the muscles which increases heart rate.
There is a risk of many heat related illnesses and issues if you are in the heat or humidity for too long, particularly if you are sweating heavily or not staying hydrated. These include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
However, if you take the necessary precautions, you can work out safely in the heat.
Here are a few things to consider and remember for when exercising in the heat.
1. Stay Hydrated
The most important factor is staying hydrated. Keep your fluids up by ensuring you have an adequate supply of water with you.
You may also consider a sports drink for intense exercise which will replace the sodium and potassium lost through sweating.
2. Choose your workout time wisely
For athletes it’s not as simple as choosing your training time, as sessions are often fixed. However, for the average person, choosing your workout time appropriately can help a lot in the summer, especially for those who work out outside. If you are exercising in a facility without aircon or outside, it may be wise to avoid the middle hours of the day where temperatures are the warmest. Opt for an early morning or evening session to avoid the soaring temperatures during the day.
3. Dress appropriately
Ensure you wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing to help keep your body cool and let sweat evaporate. It is also a smart idea to avoid wearing dark colours as they will absorb heat.
4. Know your limits
If you are new to exercise or don’t normally workout in the heat, it’s probably best to avoid exercising in the heat to start with. However, if you frequently exercise or train in the sun, you most likely know your physical limit and can make the decision to stop if need be.