When temperatures soar, most people find ways to get out and enjoy the heat of summer. Many frequent nearby beaches, public pools, or water parks to get their fill of the sun while staying cool. And summer BBQs and picnics in parks shaded by plenty of trees can also make for a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the summer months without risking heat stroke. But some people also like to take advantage of the good weather to work out. Once the snows of winter have melted away, there’s just no better way to get fit than to leave the boring treadmill behind and get outside for some jogging, swimming, or summertime sports leagues. However, you do need to be careful. Without proper safety precautions you could end up with serious sunburns, dehydration, or even heat stroke. Here are just a few tips to ensure that your summer workouts are safe.
- Wear sunblock. Whether you’re under direct sunlight or dealing with hazy conditions, it doesn’t take long at all for your skin to begin searing under the summer sun. No matter what you’re doing outdoors or what the weather is like, you should always wear sunblock when you leave the house. And if you’re going to be sweating or working out in the water, look for products designed to continue protecting your skin under such conditions. It only takes one bad sunburn to increase your risk for melanoma, so take care to cover up and wear plenty of sunblock.
- Hydrate. When your body overheats, you sweat to cool off. And if you fail to replace the fluids you lose, it could leave you dehydrated, raising your internal temperature and leading to uncomfortable side effects at the least, and potentially serious conditions at the worst. Water is great, but if you want to get the most benefit from your hydration, consider enhanced waters or sport drinks that also replenish electrolytes.
- Watch for warning signs. Dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other conditions related to working out in high temperatures often start with a series of warnings. You may feel nauseous, dizzy, or faint, for example. You might get a headache or experience muscle weakness. You could also have trouble breathing (or catching your breath after your workout) or you might even pass out. If any of these warning signs occurs, you should hydrate and get out of the heat at the very least, and in extreme cases, seek medical help.
- Warm up and cool down. You might not think you need a warm up and cool down as part of your exercise regimen when the atmosphere is already warm enough to get your body limber. But these practices are part of a safe routine, and cooling down is especially important during the summer, when your body can easily overheat.
- Work out indoors. Whether you head to the air-conditioned gym nearest you or you decide to hire in-home specialists like Fit To You Personal Training, you may realize greater workout safety by skipping the heat during the heart of summer and exercising indoors. If you’re one of those people that can go jogging in the cool morning air at 5am, more power to you. But if you can’t muster a workout until midmorning or late afternoon, when the thermostat is climbing, consider avoiding the potential for sunburn and heat exhaustion by working out in a cooler setting.