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Tips to Exercise Safely in the Summer Heat

6 Tips to Exercise Safely in the Summer Heat!

Aug 17, 2020

Summer is here and it's a scorcher!

Exercising in hot, humid weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't take care when training in the heat, you risk serious injury. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature. Learn to take extra care to avoid injury if you're going to train outdoors during hot summer days. 

1. Be Aware

Learn the warning signs of heat-related illness. Immediately STOP your workout, cool down, rehydrate if you notice any of these:

  • Muscle cramps

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Weakness, fatigue

  • Excessive sweating (or cool, dry skin with NO sweating)

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness (during exercise or later, upon standing up)

  • Confusion, irritability

  • Increased heart rate at rest (or above safe limits during exercise)

  • Visual problems

 Seek prompt medical help if any of these symptoms persist after you've stopped exercising. 

2. Drink Up Before and During Exercise

Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your workout. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and anxiety. The American Council on Exercise advises that you consume 17 to 20 ounces of water an hour or more before exercising in hot temperatures and another eight ounces 20-30 minutes before. “Tanking up” a few minutes before you begin won't get the job done and might make you cramp. Also, plan to take in another seven to 10 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes of exercise. If you’re looking to do something moderate for less than an hour, water should be fine, but for anything more intense consider a sports drink to get those electrolytes.


3. Avoid the Midday Sun

Plan those runs or bike trips early in the morning, and try to finish your tennis before 10:30. Sundown is another opportunity to train.

 4. Exercise Indoors!

When both heat and humidity are high, use those days to plan some indoor exercise. Alternate your outdoor training with virtual, on-demand workouts in your cool HOME. 

5. Don't Go Overboard

You can't do the same run or ride on 96F, 95% humidity days you did when it was 70. Try short sessions of 15 to 30 minutes for a few days until you know how your body will adapt.

6. Avoid Food & Drinks That Might Dehydrate You
Sugary Drinks
create an acidic environment in the body, impeding enzyme function and straining the kidneys. So maybe skip the sugary soda on workout days.

Alcohol: Alcohol is a diuretic. Plus, many specialty cocktails have loads of calories.

Salty foods: Moderation is key. You will lose sodium as you sweat, and salt replaces it. But, you only need a very small amount. Too much, and you'll affect kidney activity, which could hurt you. Don't forget to eat foods rich in potassium and magnesium, too.

Caffeine. If you're a regular coffee drinker, then you're acclimated to caffeine, and a cup of Joe is fine. Several cups before your workout may not be the best choice!

Protein drinks: These drinks replace needed carbs and protein but can interfere with hydration for a few hours after drinking. Enjoy those a couple of hours after your workout, rather than before.

Start “Living Bolder®!”

Rita Jenkins-Wolcott, CPT/NASM

Learn more about how to "Make Midlife Bolder!"