Beat the Heat: Exercising Safely in Summer

After a long winter of spending 15 minutes gearing up before exercising outdoors so that you don’t freeze your nose off, summer exercise seems easy. All you could possibly need are sturdy shoes and simple clothes, right?

Not so fast!

Summer weather can be just as dangerous as the cold, snow and ice — especially if you aren’t used to being active in the heat. Unless you’ve just returned from several months in the tropics or you’re an aficionado of hot yoga (which we do offer here at WFCC; check here for information!), your body won’t be acclimated to this abrupt change in heat and humidity.

We’ve put together a few tips for taking advantage of the sunshine while it lasts:

Go slow. Give your body two weeks to learn how to get rid of excess heat. Slow down your workout and slow down your expectations. If you push too hard too fast, you’ll only make the process take longer.

Avoid the hottest hours of the day. Schedule your outdoor workouts in the mornings or evenings, when both the heat and ozone indices are at their lowest. If you must work out during the day, consider joining us indoors at a climate-controlled WFCC club.

Stay hydrated. Drink water well before you start to feel thirsty; the Mayo Clinic suggests
saving sports drinks for workouts that last longer than 90 minutes or that produce copious
amounts of sweat. One way to tell if you need more fluid is by the color of your urine. If it’s pale yellow, great! If not, hydrate.

Dress with care. No, summer exercise doesn’t require nearly as many layers – but you do need to be smart. Keep your clothes light and loose. If at all possible, wear a hat. And, please, smear on some sunscreen.

Swim. Water running over your body will help you stay cool on even the hottest days.

Finally, know your limits. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, confused, or start vomiting or
cramping, you may be experiencing a heat-related illness. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke can kill if left untreated. Stop what you are doing and call for help.

We’d love to know: what’s your favourite way to stay active outdoors in the summer? Tell us in the comments below!