With our mostly sedentary lives and general lack of physical activity, we need to exercise often in order to keep our bodies fit and in good condition. However, it is not always easy to find the motivation to go out for an early morning run, or a gym session after work, especially in this heat.
However, if you have decided to go through with it regardless of the weather, there are some precautions you should probably take to make sure that you are safe, especially if all or parts of your workout are outdoors.
What Heat Does to Your Body
Heat can put a lot of stress on your body, and so can exercising. So, when you combine the two, you need to be careful not to overexert yourself. When you exercise or spend a lot of time in the heat, your bodily temperature rises, which prompts your body to attempt to cool itself down.
The way it does that is by perspiration and by expanding the blood vessels in your skin. However, that means that there is a lot less blood to power your muscles, which leads to the increased heart rate and rapid breathing. Your body is usually good at regulating its temperature, but after a long exposure to extreme conditions, it may start showing some signs of weakness.
Pick the Right Activity for You
If you still haven’t found your ideal fitness activity, it’s normal to try several different activities and classes to see what suits you the best. However, there are several things you need to take into account. First and foremost is your fitness level. It’s really difficult to go into cross-fit or a similarly challenging activity if you have never done a day of exercising previously.
Still, it’s very likely that your local gym has a variety of classes to try and professional and skilled staff who can help you reach your goals whatever they are.
Drink Enough Fluids
A tip as old as fitness and gyms, drinking enough water to supplant the water you lose by sweating has proven over and over again how true it is. It is even more important if you will be outdoors during the exercise. As mentioned previously, you will lose a lot more water through perspiration and you will need to make it up.
There is no exact measure which could tell you how many ounces or cups you should drink, so when you are thirsty, drink. Experts have determined that the best option for people working out is water and that you should avoid various sports drinks and sodas which contain too much sugar.
If you expect the day to be extremely hot and sunny, it’s best to avoid going out during the peak sunny hours, which most people agree means between 11 AM and 4 PM. That includes doing exercise, especially outdoors. Plan your day in such a way that you have either the early morning or the dusk to do the exercise.
Not only will the sun not be as intensive, these parts of the day are also the most likely to have some breeze to cool you down additionally.
Don’t Rush Into It
Even if you are really eager to give it your best when exercising, make sure that your body is on the same page. It may be quite a shock for your body to come out from an air conditioned car or home. Don’t exacerbate the situation by just rushing into high intensity exercise without proper preparation.
Even without the heat, you need to wade in slowly. First do some light stretching, followed by warmup activities like cardio. This way, you can adapt your body to the workout temperature and you can feel whether it is too hot for you to work out before you commit yourself fully.
Proper Clothing Can Make a Huge Difference
There are many kinds of workout clothes for different situations. However, if you are expecting to sweat profusely, as you undoubtedly will outside in the summer, perhaps the best option are loose fitting clothes, preferably made from natural materials like linen and cotton. These materials will help your sweat to evaporate which in turn makes you cooler. Try to cover as much of your body as possible, to avoid sunburns and heat-induced illnesses.
Even the color of your clothes can make all the difference. Dark colors will unavoidably attract the heat, whereas lighter colors can repel it. Finally, a wide-brim hat and some sunglasses along with plenty of sunscreen will probably do you good as well.
Keeping fit is hard enough, but the summer heat can make it even more of a challenge. However, every challenge can be conquered with the right approach. Employ these tactics and you will soon see positive changes.