A beautiful sunny day is the ultimate motivation to go outside and play, but the summer heat and exercise can be a risky combination. Nothing feels better than getting out of the gym and hitting the fresh air, but you’ll want to take some precautions for safe exercise in the hot summer sun.
Our body’s natural cooling system can start to fail if we’re exposed to high temperatures for a long period of time. The result may be heat exhaustion. You may even suffer heat stroke. If the humidity is also up, this is dangerous because your sweat doesn’t evaporate as readily, which can send body temperature even higher.
1. Take it easy
Know when to slow down, especially if you’re exercising in hot and humid climates. Chances are, you won’t be able to exercise at the intensity you normally do indoors, and that’s okay. Start at a slow your pace. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually pick up the pace and length of your workout.
2. Know the best times for training
Wake up earlier to catch the cool of the morning, or go out at the end of the day. In the heat of midday (typically between 10 am and 3pm) take cover under shade. And carry a fan/spray bottle for skin surface cooling.
3. Know what to wear.
Lighter colours will help reflect the heat. Don’t wear heavyweight or tight fitting clothing. The lighter and loose fitting the clothing, the more air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool.
4. Be sure to apply sunblock.
Sunblock should be your best friend during the summer season, make use of a high SPF to be safe. Remember, you can get burnt on a cloudy day too. Sunburn increases the risk of premature skin aging, and increases your risk of skin cancer.
5. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
Always carry a bottle of water, even if you feel it’s not necessary – it is. This will also assist in keeping your temperature down. Take a drink in 15 minute intervals. When you’ve finished your workout, drink more water. Your body will need it.
6. Monitor yourself.
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling any of the following, find air-conditioned comfort fast.
Dizziness/Paling of the skin
Muscle cramps
Nausea or vomiting
Rapid heartbeat
Always remember that even a 20-minute workout has positive health effects. It’s the number of days you exercise that matters most, not the length of time of any given exercise session. If you do start feeling ill, stop immediately. Find shade and drink some water, bring your temperature down and don’t push yourself when your body is giving you warning signs.