Exercising Outdoors in Summer? Tips You Need to Know

Knowing your route and climate means that you have to know if there will be some shade along the way and that you will not end up directly exposed to the heat of the sun. Take a look at the heat index for the day’s relative humidity and plan accordingly. Schedule your workout so that it is on the least humid and hot part of the day.

 

Once the long and cold days of winter have gotten the best of us, we start to long for exercising in the summer – playing soccer in the park, hiking in the mountains or just stretching out in the garden.  And as those dog days of summer draws near, it is important that we prepare ourselves. If you are not careful enough, working out under the heat of the sun can bring along a number of dangers, especially with the heat and the risk of dehydration.

Marathon runners are the ones who are most at prone to these dangers. And unless they have prepared enough, they are bound to feel dizzy and stagger – the typical signs of dehydration. But even if you do not intend to run for miles, you still need to smart before you embark on a summer workout.

When taking on summer exercises outdoors, you need to take into consideration the increase in heat and humidity. Our bodies are typically warmer than the environment. When this changes, our muscles will sweat to regulate heat, allowing the body to cool down. But with sweating comes the loss of body fluids. Overdoing your summer exercises can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, when your body is not able to sustain the heat, pace, humidity and loss of fluid any longer. But when you are hydrated, your body should be able to cool itself off. But when you are not, that is when the problems start. Your body will not be able to cool itself, storing the heat inside and putting your central organs and central nervous system at risk.

Some of the signs of heat exhaustion are weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and an increase in body temperature. Heat stroke is more severe and may lead to death. Some of its signs include temperature above 104, acute respiratory distress, inability to sweat and loss of consciousness.

Tip #1: Acclimate Yourself You need to learn to adjust with the temperature changes. In order to do so, you need to expose yourself regularly. Generally, it takes the body 14 days to settle itself with the temperature changes so you need to be active ahead of time. If you are simply doing routine exercise, though, it is best that you exercise outside when it’s cooler, like early morning or evening.

Tip #2: Stay Hydrated

With summer exercise, probably the topmost concern is hydration. If your urine is the same as the color of lemonade, then you are well-hydrated. If it’s darker, then you most probably are dehydrated. Also, when you go for 4 to 6 hours without urinating, there is a good chance that you are not hydrated enough. Drink 20 ounces of water 2 hours before exercising, some sips every 15 minutes during the exercise, and 8 ounces after.

Tip #3: Slow Down

Once the outdoor hits the 90s, or at a temperature that you are not used to, it would be best that you cut your exposure and your exercise pace. Do not do the same pace that you did yesterday. Also, do not compete with your friends who are fitter or has a higher heat tolerance than you have. 

Tip #4: Wear Light and Breathable Clothing

The best cloth for exercise is light fabrics that will wick away sweat. It should also be light in color so it reflects the sun. Many people tend to overdress, covering up their working muscles in their legs which are the ones that generate a lot of heat. Sunscreen is also very important as well as a brimmed hat and some lightweight sunglasses.

Tip #5: Exercise Early or Late

If you can, exercise before 7 in the morning or after 6 in the evening during the summer months. This will lengthen your day and your energy to your summer workout. When you do it in the middle of the day, you are more likely to get slowed down by humidity and heat. If the heat is at its worst, it is best that you do your exercises in the gym instead.

Tip #6: Asses the Previous Day

It is not enough that you are well aware of how you feel before heading out to exercise outside. When you are regularly exercising, you also have to take into account your diet, fluid ingestion and physical activity of the previous day. You might have been fatigued or dehydrated which can affect your exercise the following day.

Tip #7: Know the Route and Climate

Knowing your route and climate means that you have to know if there will be some shade along the way and that you will not end up directly exposed to the heat of the sun. Take a look at the heat index for the day’s relative humidity and plan accordingly. Schedule your workout so that it is on the least humid and hot part of the day.

Tip #8: Consult Your Doctor

There are many medications – whether prescription or over the counter – that can intensity the effects of illness that are related to heat. Antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, appetite suppressants and decongestants can accelerate dehydration which can decrease your body’s ability to know danger. Diuretics like alcohol and caffeine consumed before exercising outside can also hasten dehydration.

Tip #9: Use Common Sense

Do not pick a hot summer day to go in-line skating or rock climbing for the first time. Do not something that’s new to you, even for just a short period of time. If you do not know how your body will react to a certain activity, it is best that you do it on a cooler and less harsh day. If you are feeling bad, get inside and get your core temperature down.

All these dangers, though, should not lead you to abandon a good summer workout. Just follow the above guidelines and you should be on at a good start. Also make sure that you have consulted your doctor before embarking on an exercise routine or program – whatever the weather is.