Working out in the heat: What you need to know

A girl drinking water
Young caucasian woman drinking water from an insulated orange water bottle in nature

Whether you live somewhere that is always hot or are getting ready to start working out in the summer, you need to be aware of what exercising in the heat can do.

Not being prepared for the higher temperatures can put you at risk of serious illness, so you need to take precautions to protect your health. If you don’t have the right equipment or if the heat is more than you can handle, it is a good idea to save your workout for another day.

To keep you fit and healthy this summer, here’s what you need to know about working out when it’s warm:

Stay hydrated

Your body is unable to cool itself down unless you are adequately hydrated, which means you’ll need to drink more water when working out in hot weather than you would in an air conditioned gym.

To cool itself, your body perspires, however, not drinking enough water means it won’t perspire as much as it needs to. If heat is coupled with humidity, sweat will actually stick to your skin for longer, which means it doesn’t cool you as much as it should.

You should drink water before you workout, during and afterwards to keep yourself hydrated and better able to deal with the heat. Failing to do this can leave you feeling dizzy and sick, as well as impair movement and vision. Severe cases of dehydration can lead to hospitalization, so don’t workout without a water bottle to hand.

Take it easy

You may very well be able to take that hill at a sprint on cooler days, but trying to achieve the same levels when exercising in the heat, can push you too much. It is a good idea to start out slower than you usually would and build up your workout at a reduced rate. You won’t be able to push yourself as hard, so it’s important that you listen to your body and stop or ease up when you need to.

As you get used to the temperatures, you can push yourself a bit more in your workouts, but it is still important to take it easy. Take rests as and when you need them and shorten your exercise sessions if you feel you have to.

Steer clear of the hottest temperatures

It is a good idea to be aware of when the temperatures are going to be at their hottest throughout the day so you can avoid working out when they are high. The higher the temperature, the more difficult it is to exercise and the faster you’ll dehydrate so avoid exercising around midday.

Keep your workouts to the morning or evening when the temperatures are typically cooler, this way you’ll be able to exercise harder and will be able to avoid any adverse results.

Get summer gym clothes

You should have workout wear for winter and one for summer as both seasons have different requirements. During the hotter months, ensure you wear lighter clothing to allow your skin to breathe and you to stay cool.

It is also a good idea to steer clear of darker colors as these absorb heat so you’ll likely get warm much faster, which can impact your workout and your health. Choose lightweight fabrics in light shades to avoid overheating.

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