When the birds are singing and the sun is shining, working out outdoors is more tempting than ever. But when it comes to strenuous fitness activities, heat and humidity have the potential to do more harm than good if you aren’t prepared.
Here are six ways you can play it safe this summer and still get the most from your outdoor exercise.
Give your cozy running sweater and full-length black compression tights the summer off and opt for loose-fitting, lightly coloured clothing instead. Fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin are always a cool choice and items with cut outs or mesh panels help keep the air flowing as you heat up. And don’t forget your hat!
Timing is everything.
The sun is at its most powerful between 10AM-4PM; so if you’re expecting a hot day, aim for an early morning or early evening workout when the conditions aren’t as harsh. If that doesn’t work for your schedule, consider activities such as hiking in the forest, running along the shoreline, or swimming in a pool or lake to help keep your cool.
It’s always important to stay hydrated while working out, but heat and humidity up the ante. As your body sweats more in an effort to keep cool, you lose more fluids. Replacing these fluids helps to ward off dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. You can keep it interesting by adding our Ester-C Energy Boost for flavour and a rehydrating boost.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Listen to your body and adjust your pace/intensity so you can acclimate to the heat and humidity levels. Gradually pick up the pace as you go and if you need to shorten your workout or break it up into two or more sessions, it’s okay. You may not be able to run as far or cycle as quickly as you can in the spring or fall, but the important thing is you make the effort, safely.
It may be too hot for your regular workout, but it could be just right for another activity. Yoga, for example, is a great warm-weather option. The higher your body temperature rises, the deeper you may be able to get into your poses, increasing your flexibility. Why head to a studio when your own living room is already primed for a hot yoga class?
Keep the beat.
If you’re concerned about over exertion, consider using a heart-rate monitor (or a fitness tracker with heart-rate monitoring capability). This is particularly key in humid environments because your sweat won’t evaporate as easily and your body will have to work harder to stay cool.
Of course, if it’s really blazing outside, it can also be a nice break to move the action back indoors. Hit the air-conditioned gym, enjoy a few speed-walking laps around the mall, or a try a new fitness video at home in front of the fan. Whether you’re indoors or out, what matters is that you’re moving your body and enjoying your summer!