It’s been hotter than hot this last week or two, and for me, at least, it’s made it difficult to get out and exercise as much as I usually do. How can you get your work out in and still beat the heat?
Exercise Early or Late:
While it’s often more humid in the early morning, you benefit from being less sunny. Not an early riser? Exercise late in the day after the sun has gone down, but be aware that exercising too close to bedtime can affect your sleep. If you do choose to exercise while it’s dark out, wear reflective clothing and a headlamp/blinker; don’t assume cars will see you. Always carry your ID and a cell phone.
Be Sensible About Intensity:
Your body does not cool as efficiently when the heat and humidity are high, which makes your heart work harder than it does in colder temperatures. Slow your pace and go easy on yourself if you have to scale back a planned high-intensity workout. If race day is hot, don’t feel the need to push for a PR. Those who are new to exercise, young children, and the elderly should be especially cautious working out in hot weather.
Dress The Part:
Sweat-wicking, light-colored clothing is best. Cotton and dark colors trap heat and sweat and don’t allow you to cool off. I wear a “cooling gaiter” when I run in the heat; other options are cooling towels and cooling hats/headbands. If you are out mid-day wear a hat, sunscreen (at least SPF 30), and appropriate sunglasses (UVA/UVB blocking).
Hydrate Before, During and After
Proper hydration should be a part of your everyday life. While water is ideal, it’s not necessary to limit your options. Remember that many foods are high in water content, especially juicy fruits and vegetables. Most people do just fine exercising with water; if you are a “salty sweater” or are out for more than an hour, consider a sports drink. It is not necessary to drink them all day long, however!
Watch for Trouble
Learn more about Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke from this Infographic from the National Weather Service.