With social distancing guidelines in place, many Americans are moving their workouts outside to stay active and to get some fresh air. It’s important to understand that working out in hot and humid weather can put extra stress on your body.
If you’re not careful when exercising, you’re at risk for serious illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. That shouldn’t deter you, though, as experts recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week.
Keep in mind these tips to safely exercise in the summer heat:
- Avoid the hottest part of the day – if possible, plan your workout before 10AM or after 3PM to dodge those strong sun rays.
- Wear light-colored clothing – dark colors absorb the heat, while light colors will reflect the sun. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing will help air circulate and keep you cool.
- Apply sunscreen – opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF. Reapply every two hours, even if the label says it’s sweatproof. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can also protect your face from sun exposure.
- Stay hydrated with water – drink water before you head out, and try to take sips every 15 minutes during your workout, whether you are thirsty or not.
- Replenish your electrolytes – instead of reaching for a sports drink, consider replacing electrolytes through real foods like chia seeds, kale, coconut, or fruits and vegetables.
- Listen to your body – if you’re feeling dizzy, faint, or nauseated, stop activity immediately. Take a seat in the shade and drink some water until you’re feeling better. Watch for symptoms of heat-related illness.
If you’re not used to the heat and humidity, ease up on your outdoor workouts. Your body may need to adapt, so follow its lead and gradually pick up the pace or intensity. Although you may be sweating before the workout begins, go easy on yourself and accept that you may have to adjust your exercise program as it moves outdoors.
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