Summer is finally here! Well, for half the planet anyhow. That said, if you’re like half the population of the world, you might be straining your brain to find ways to keep cool during your warm weather summer workouts.
No need to worry – with just a little bit of planning and a lot of common sense, you can stay cool and safe while you keep fit on even the hottest of summer days.
I’ll add this tip first because it’s something you probably already know, and something you should be doing anyway. Just to be on the safe side, though, I thought it worth a mention.
Staying hydrated means much more than just drinking a few glasses of water during the day. That’s especially true as the sunshine starts shining. You absolutely should drink ample water throughout the day – the specific amount of water you need varies by your age, sex and more.
However, you should be eating foods which are easy to digest, as digestion requires a lot of water. Stay away from heavy proteins and greasy foods, opting instead for fruits, veggies and even light carbs.
Talk to your doctor about adding electrolyte drinks to your hydration routine, too. Your doctor’s opinion may vary depending upon your health, as some of these drinks can be high in sugars.
To put it simply, stay hydrated by staying ahead of thirst. When you’re thirsty, you’re beginning to become dehydrated.
Change Your Routine
If you love to go for a morning run, you’re probably not going to have to change up too much. However, if you like to get a jog or a bike ride in on your lunch break, it’s probably time to rethink your exercise routine.
Those of you who work out in an air conditioned gym, at the pool or in your office exercise space, you can pretty much do that any time of day. Outdoor workouts, however, during the summer are simply not always safe. You’re at an increased risk of sunburn because, quite frankly, more of your skin is exposed to the elements.
However, there are other risks. Heat stroke, severe dehydration and excess strain on your heart are just a few. For safe workouts during the summer, stick with the early morning or the evening hours.
Listen to Your Body
There’s nothing more important you can do to stay cool during summer workouts than to listen to the signs your body is giving you.
You know how it feels to work out. You know what’s normal. The way your muscles feel, the way your heart rate rises and the way your breathing accelerates. You know when you feel hot and you know when you feel too hot.
Listen, listen, listen. If you feel strange in any way, stop exercising. Take a moment and gauge your symptoms. Signs of heatstroke include dizziness, nausea and chills. You may also feel very hot but notice you’re not sweating. If any of these symptoms occur, call 911.
You know, there are ways you can get the health benefits of sweating without actually working out. Sweating is good for you on so many levels. It helps kill harmful bacteria on your skin, helps release toxins from your body and assists in regulating your body temperature.
If there are a few days where it’s just too darn hot to work out, no worries! Try a sauna belt or a sauna shirt instead. These are form-fitting clothing items you can wear even under your clothes – no one will know you’re wearing it.
Sauna shapers will help you sweat comfortably, without putting your body at risk. Plus, they’re not just for summer weather. Grab a few to wear them year round, and you’ll even be safely sweating in the winter months.
Work Out with a Buddy
It’s always been said that there’s safety in numbers, and that’s true for safe summer workouts, too. Once again, you know what it feels like to work out. There’s a point during your routine where it’s comfortable to carry on a conversation, and another point where you may be a little breathless. You know the specific way your cheeks may flush, and you know when you feel the right kind of “burn.”
Bring a friend along on your workout. Together, you can monitor each other to ensure that breathlessness doesn’t occur, that you’re able to maintain a conversation at the appropriate time, and that you just look right.
A buddy system is also a good safety measure to have should anything go wrong. Find someone you trust to work out with, and you can help keep each other safe.
Be Well Equipped
When you’re exercising outdoors during the summer, you’re just going to have to do some things differently. The first of these is, obviously, wear sunscreen. If you’re already doing this, good for you. If not, get started, and keep it up year-round.
You’ll also want to dress for the weather. Wear a hat, or if you don’t like the way a hat feels, settle for a visor. You’ll feel cooler and you’ll also protect your face and your eyes from the sun.
The clothing you wear is up to you, of course. You may choose to wear long pants, and there’s good reason for this. A quality pair of leggings will wick moisture away from your skin, allowing you to keep cool and to prevent chafing.
It’s not uncommon for men and women to wear long sleeves to work out in the heat. That’s okay, just make sure the fabric is a breathable one, and that your top is a light color. It’s more likely you’ll prefer short sleeves, though. Again, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Finally, get a CamelBak or another reliable way to carry plenty of water with you. Carry your cell phone and if you take any medications, be sure to list those in your emergency contacts application.
Use your brain and some good old common sense, and your warm weather workouts will go just fine! Know your body and listen to its signs to ensure a safe, solid summer workout.