When the weather warms up, many of us love to spend more time outdoors, especially if we live in places where we endure long, cold winters. But as summer temperatures rise, heat-related issues become more common, particularly for those who exercise outside.
“Staying safe in the heat is very important when we see extremely high temperatures,” says Krystina De Alba-Vargas, Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in Henderson, Nev. “Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body as it works harder to keep itself cool.”
We asked De Alba-Vargas and Jon McConico, Dynamic Personal Trainer at Life Time in Minneapolis, Minn., for their top tips on staying cool and still getting your workout in when it’s hot out.
1. Stay hydrated.
When the temperature rises, hydration is key.
“Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily, plus an additional eight ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise you complete,” says De Alba-Vargas. “Personally, I also take an electrolyte supplement daily — whether I exercise or not — to help replenish any lost nutrients.”
Your hydration needs will depend on how much you’re training outside, adds McConico. “Anywhere from 16 to 20 ounces of water is recommended per hour when it’s hot out, but if you’re working out in the heat and sweating quite a bit, you might need even more than that,” he says.
2. Choose your clothing wisely.
Wearing workout gear made with certain types of fabrics can help you stay protected and cool.
“I recommend opting for light, dry-fit shorts, tank tops, or t-shirts,” advises De Alba-Vargas. “A dry-fit hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen will also help protect your skin from the hot sun.”
3. Time your workouts with the weather.
De Alba-Vargas suggests checking the weather in advance and timing your outdoor workout accordingly.
“Morning or evening outdoor workouts are usually best, since those tend to be the coolest hours of the day,” De Alba-Vargas says. “In Nevada, for example, it can often be dangerous to be outside in the summer between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.”
4. Take your workout indoors or to the water.
Although outdoor exercise can be enjoyable, indoors maybe the safer route to go, especially if lunchtime or afternoons are your go-to workout window.
“If it’s too hot or you don’t feel comfortable being outside, come on into Life Time,” says McConico. “We have treadmills, we have indoor tracks, you can jump in the pool — there are plenty of different options.”
“Pool workouts are a great idea if you want to plan for an outdoor workout but also want to stay cool,” adds De Alba-Vargas.
5. Recognize your limits.
Since heat exhaustion is more common during the summer, there are a few symptoms to watch for when exercising outdoors. “Look for the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, which includes dizziness, extreme thirst, heavy sweating or no sweating, nausea, and feeling weak,” says De Alba-Vargas.
“And since your body pumps more blood to your skin when trying to keep cool, your heart rate will increase an extra 10 or more beats per minute in the heat,” she continues. “If you’re feeling the effects of this, stop your activity and move to a cooler place to rest. As a precaution, I would suggest taking your workout slower with frequent rest breaks.”