Exercise in the Summer Heat

Summer is here and it’s hot! It’s a great time for outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and enjoying the beach. Exercise and activity in the summer heat has an added risk – dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough fluid for normal body functions. It can lead to extreme thirst and cramping. Extreme dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and even life-threatening heat stroke.

And then there’s just being comfortable. We tend to slow down in the heat. If you’re motivated for outdoor activity, you don’t want to fight the heat.

Here’s some summertime tips for outdoor exercise to make sure you enjoy yourself while you’re staying healthy and fit.

  1. Stay Hydrated
    Staying hydrated is your number one concern in the summer heat. Plan on having a glass of water every half hour or so. If you’re thirsty – drink. But thirst isn’t always a reliable guide. Hydration can sneak up on you even when you’re not thirsty. Bring water with you when you’re out. Have a plan for where you can get water when you’re out. Drink consistently throughout the day.
  2. Fuel the Body
    Appetite can be an issue in the summer. It’s common to have less of an appetite in the heat.  We eat less and even skip meals.  Food is a source of water. Eating helps to keep our body hydrated. It’s also important to keep the body adequately fueled for your activity. Keep your muscle stores replenished with a 1:2 protein to carbohydrate ratio. Eat clean, healthy smaller meals more frequently to keep your energy up.  Avoid big, heavy meals that can make you lethargic.
  1. Manage Your Time
    The sun is the hottest in mid and late afternoon.  Engage in your activities in the mornings or evenings when its cooler. Obviously if you’re going to the beach its probably going to be the afternoon. Wear your sunscreen and don’t stay out in the hot sun too long. For your workouts, take advantage of the cool mornings. You’ll sweat less and be more hydrated.
  1. Change Your Workout Based on the Weather
    Change the type of activity you do to suit the weather conditions. If its going to be 90 plus degrees, go biking. It’s not a weight bearing activity and you create a cooling wind when you ride. Swim when its hot and humid. Avoid heavy weight training workouts in they high heat. You tend to get fatigued and dehydrated quicker.

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