Summer is upon us, which means longer days, more free time, and a renewed motivation to get in shape. Whether your goal is to be able to play in a recreational sports league, get a better “beach body”, or simply live a healthier lifestyle, it’s important that you exercise smart this summer in order to stay cool.
Here are some tips for keeping your cool in the summer heat.
1. Drink lots of water
Sweat is your body’s primary method of cooling itself. If you exercise vigorously and sweat a lot but don’t replace that liquid, you can find yourself overheating. Make it a daily habit to drink water at every meal (and throughout the day), but be especially mindful if you know you’ll be exercising outside later in the day. Start drinking more water several hours in advance of your workout, even if you aren’t thirsty. You don’t have to go overboard, but an extra 20-30 ounces of water can go a long way.
2. Take breaks
Sure, we all like to think of ourselves as workout warriors who can brave any conditions. But oftentimes we get as much or more benefit from “short bursts” of activity followed by regular breaks as we do from trying for longer, continuous exercise. Taking breaks helps your body cool down and return to its normal heart rate for a while.
3. Find shade
If you’re working out outside, take your breaks under a tree or in the shade of a building. It can be 10-15 degrees cooler in shadier areas than it is in the open sun. Not only are you helping your body recover, but resting in the shade feels good and is a nice reward for a period of intense exercise in the sun!
4. Schedule your workouts wisely
It’s significantly cooler in the early mornings and evenings than it is in the midday. Most cases of heat stroke and dehydration occur during the middle of the day, so it’s wise to avoid this time of day in your workouts. Additionally, starting your morning with a workout is a great way to build energy and confidence for the day ahead! Making sure that exercising is the first thing you do every day signals to yourself that you are taking your fitness seriously. If you’re not a morning person, then winding down a long day’s work with a relaxing run or other workout is a nice way to commend yourself for a job well done.
5. Wear a hat
Try to wear a light, ventilated baseball hat if you are exercising outside. This is effective in whisking sweat away from your scalp and shielding your eyes from the sun. But, its primary positive benefit is in shielding your head and face from the harmful radiation of the sun.
6. Wear exercise-specific clothing
Don’t just thrown on a ratty tee shirt that you’ve had laying in your drawer for five years. Traditional fabrics tend to stick to the skin and become over-saturated very quickly. Instead, visit a sporting goods store and invest in some workout clothes. Special workout gear is made of material that is designed to stay dry and to keep you cool.
Summer is a great time to get motivated to exercise! However, the increased heat does pose some potentially serious problems. Take the time and effort to follow the tips above and you’ll reap the benefits of healthier and safer workouts.