5 Tips to Safely Take Your Workout Outside in the Summer Heat
Let’s be honest – we’re always excited to take our workouts outdoors as soon as summer approaches, but when summer actually arrives, we’re pretty reluctant to do so, the heat being our main excuse.
We won’t argue – it being too hot is a valid reason to not do that workout outside, but then again, we all need a break from the gym sometimes. So, to prevent your much-needed break from the gym turning into taking a break from your workout routine entirely, we have some tips on how to take your workout outside safely.
We all know that our bodies are pretty good at cooling itself, but the current summer’s heat is seriously challenging. Yes, when you sweat, your body cools itself automatically, but according to MindBodyGreen, there are still some precautions you have to take when taking that workout outdoors. Hopefully, these tips will encourage you to stop making excuses and help you to enjoy your workout in the remaining weeks of summer.
1) Do your workout in the morning or evening
This might seem pretty obvious, but try to work out in the morning or the evening. Temperatures are more forgiving during this time of day, which will also make your outdoor workout much more pleasant. Just don’t forget to put on some sunscreen, and wear light clothing. You can also look out for workout clothes with added UPF, which helps to protect your skin from the sun. Remember to apply your sunscreen every one to two hours. Sweating a lot makes the good stuff disappear faster.
2) Keep it indoors on very humid days
Yeah, yeah, we all hate humidity, and the truth is that you should probably try to keep your workout indoors on days that humidity is really high. Why? Well, except for the fact that you’re gonna die from the heat out there, your body will also be facing extra challenges. When our bodies produce sweat in a humid atmosphere, it has more difficulty evaporating, which means that your body will have a hard time cooling itself. Rather do your workout indoors on days you know are very humid. There will be other days that will be more ideal.
3) Give your body time to adjust
You will feel a difference when you start to do your workout outside. Be gentle with yourself – adjust your training intensity and duration accordingly and don’t let your ego get in the way. You have your whole life to keep in shape. For example, running a shorter distance for a few weeks while acclimatizing to your new workout environment will not cause you to be any less fit than you were before. You’re still running, aren’t you? And your body is working harder because of the heat – you’re not losing out on anything here.
The good news is that this acclimatization doesn’t take very long – it can usually be accomplished within two weeks of starting your first outdoor workout if you do it on a consistent basis. Let’s just all take a moment to appreciate how totally badass our bodies are. Along with your body getting used to the heat, you might also find that your exercise performance improves, as well as your cardiovascular function. Your body will start to sweat earlier in your workout and you’ll notice that you sweat more than usual. That’s a sign that your body has successfully adjusted to its new workout environment. Pretty dope, right?
4) Stay hydrated
Stay hydrated. We can’t emphasize this enough. Always make sure that you have water or beverages rich in electrolytes with you when you take your workout outdoors. Take a sip regularly. The color of your urine will be a good indicator of whether you’re hydrated – it should be a pale yellow. Anything darker than that means that you’re dehydrated. Don’t wait to take a sip until you’re dying of thirst – that means you’re already dehydrated. You can’t expect your body to perform at its best if you don’t give it the liquids to do so.
5) Listen to your body to prevent heatstroke and heat exhaustion
It’s important to always listen to your body. Yes, we all like to push ourselves a bit in our workouts, but if your body tells you to stop – stop. While exercising outdoors, you do run the risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion. The former happens when your body overheats and reaches a temperature of over 104 degrees. This is pretty serious since it can damage your organs. Symptoms include confusion, racing heart rate, rapid breathing, nausea, and vomiting. You will need emergency treatment and if you don’t get it in time, you could die. Better safe than sorry, right?
Heat exhaustion is pretty common and not as serious as heatstroke, but if you don’t get treated for it, it could develop into heatstroke. Should you experience weakness, dizziness, headache, and profuse sweating, you need to stop your workout immediately and seek shelter in a cool, shaded area, preferably indoors, and start hydrating like a crazy person.
Allow yourself a change of scenery
Taking your workout outside is an amazing way to shake things up. We all need a change of scenery from time to time, and summer is the perfect time to explore new places to exercise. You also get to skip that gym membership fee, which means you’ll have more money for delicious summer snacks after your workout. As long as you take the necessary precautions, you’ll be good. Take your workout outside while you still can. Pretty soon it’ll be freezing outside and you’ll wish that you did it while you had the chance.
Do you like to take your workout outdoors? Do you have any other tips to do so safely? Let us know in the comments.