Every year where I live we have temperatures well over 100* degrees. When it comes to exercising outside, in the heat, you better be prepared or plan an alternative workout. You can be a super fit individual but the sun does not care. You can quickly become overheated and get sick from high temperatures. Protect yourself from health risks by considering the following:
1. Do not exercise between 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. outside. You MUST wait for the sun to go down and if it is over 90* degrees and the humidity is high stay inside.
2. Get a gym membership. This way you don't have to worry about what time of day you are working out (as long as they have air conditioning 72* degrees or lower).
3. Stay hydrated with more than just water. Did you know fruits and veggies have electrolytes in them? Plus fruits and veggies have a high amount of water per serving. If you are doing extreme training and if you are doing it in high temperatures be sure to check with your doctor and consider salt and electrolyte supplements to help you out.
4. Pay attention to your sweat! If you stop sweating you are probably already dehydrated. Also if your skin feels super salty from sweating you need to replenish. That is the electrolytes leaving your body. Double check with your pharmacist about any prescriptions you are taking. Some prescriptions can make us more sensitive to the sun and heat.
5. Wear lightweight and loose fit clothing. You want to be sure your clothing is not acting like a sauna, adding to increasing your body temperature.
6. Get sleep! We forget that lack of sleep can impact our blood sugar levels and our bodies ability to efficiently respond to external influences, like, increased temperatures. You want your body to be well rested and have the ability to quickly cool yourself. A stressed out, tired body doesn't do this as well as a rested body.
7. Be okay with skipping an outside workout! I know when you are committed to something you want to stay consistent and push through… but when the dangers outweigh the benefits it's time to try something else.
As an avid runner I make sure if I have a run planned I run between 5:00 a.m. -7:30 a.m. during the summer months. Remember, just a slight decrease in your hydration level can leave your heart and body working harder than it should have to work. Before heading outside to exercise this summer ask yourself:
-Is this workout safe to do in this weather?
-Do I need to modify my workout due to the heat?
-Did I get 7-8 hours of sleep last night?
-Have I been eating 6-10 servings of fruits and veggies everyday over the last few days?--Have I been drinking enough water?
Remember: You need at least 2-4 oz of water every 15 minutes during vigorous exercise, such as running, and after 30 minutes I like to use an electrolyte supplement. You must continue to replenish before, during, and after a hard workout - especially if done in the heat.
-Do I need an electrolyte replacement supplement for this workout?
Be safe out there and listen to your body!