Beat the heat!

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With summer approaching and warmer temperatures already here for many of us, it is important to be prepared for exercising in the heat.  Here are some tips to help you do that safely!

  • Stay hydrated.  You should consume water (or a sports beverage depending on the intensity and length of your exercise session) before, during, and after exercise.  Dehydration is already starting by the time you get thirsty, so don’t wait on that to be your gauge!

  • Choose moisture wicking materials.  Our body is cooled through the evaporation of sweat, not the actual act of sweating.  If cotton gets soaked with sweat, it hinders the ability for sweat to effectively evaporate, thus keeping your body from appropriately cooling itself.  Moisture wicking materials help to wick sweat off the skin in order to aid in evaporation, so they are the first choice when exercising outdoors in the heat!  This goes for your socks, too!  (Keep in mind that you should not use any fabric softeners on these materials because it hinders their effectiveness).
  • Choose light colors.  Light colors help to reflect the sun’s rays, while dark colors tend to absorb them.
  • Avoid the heat of the day.  Try to get outside in the morning or the evening when it is slightly cooler.  Finding a shady route is also helpful.
  • Pay attention to the humidity.  The temperature is not the only thing to consider.  High humidity levels keep sweat from evaporating, which as mentioned above can keep the body from being able to cool itself appropriately.

  • Wear sunscreen.  Often times we don’t think about this unless we’re headed to the pool or the beach, but it’s important any time you’re outside for an extended period of time.  I prefer a spray sport sunscreen because it’s easy to apply and doesn’t feel greasy.
  • Give yourself time to get used to the heat.  It is important that you don’t exercise indoors at the gym all of June and July and then decide to go out for a jog outside in August.  Your body needs time to get used to the heat, so it’s important to increase the time and intensity of outdoor exercise gradually so that your body can adapt and learn how to cool off effectively.
  • Find an indoor option if possible.  If you don’t want to join a gym, there are other options to consider.  Many malls open early just for walkers.  You can also find an exercise DVD you enjoy for those really hot and humid days when you’d rather stay inside in the air conditioning!

Good luck sticking with your routine this summer!  Feel free to leave a comment or a question below.

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