Spring is here, which means summer is just around the corner. For many health and fitness buffs, the coming of the warmer months may be welcome, but not everyone enjoys sweating it out in the heat of the year’s hottest season. Not to mention, heat exhaustion is a real thing that can be dangerous to your health if you push yourself too hard.
If you’re the latter, here are some tips and tricks for working out comfortably and keeping yourself healthy and safe during the summer.
Drinking the right amounts of water is key to avoiding heat stroke not just when you’re exercising, but during the summer in general. Here are some hydration practices to keep in mind:
- During your workout routine, drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes. Once you’re done, drink a minimum of 8 ounces of water. Remember not to drink too much, though since overhydration can cause low blood sodium.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, since they tend to enhance the effects of dehydration.
- Beware of too much sugar. A cold glass of lemonade may be refreshing, but don’t let it replace your water consumption.
Avoid working out during the hottest part of the day
Avoid working out in the heat of the midday or afternoon (which usually takes place between 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon). But don’t go jogging or doing strenuous activities under direct sunlight. If you must work out during midday hours when the sun is at its peak, here are some reminders to keep you safe:
- Make sure you’re indoors or under the shade. Even before summer comes, ensure that your home’s air conditioning system is up to par so you can blast it on when it’s too warm.
- You can also opt to jump in an indoor pool.
- Go for more relaxing types of workouts, like yoga or pilates.
Take it easy
If at any point you feel any of the following symptoms, that’s when you need to stop:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Paling of the skin
Don’t push yourself to the point where you feel dizzy, faint, or sick. Remember that even a 20-minute workout can already have a lot of positive effects on your health. It’s the consistency in your workout days that will make the difference, and not necessarily how many minutes or hours your workout takes.
Wear breathable and light-colored workout clothes
Dark-colored clothing absorbs more heat than light-colored ones, so summer is the perfect time to whip out your white or pastel-colored workout clothing. Go for items made of fabrics like nylon, polyester, and micro-modal, since they don’t absorb moisture as much and won’t make you feel heavier when you sweat. They are also more breathable and keeps all kinds of moisture at bay.
Protect your skin
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when working out under the sun is not shielding your skin from harmful UV rays. Apply SPF 30 or higher to your face and parts of the body that are exposed while under the sun and keep applying every two hours, even if the product claims to be sweat and water-proof. Many of these claims have not been proven and are still under investigation, and they can be marketing tactics too. It’s better safe than sorry since sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Observe yourself and listen to your body
The key to staying safe while working out — regardless of temperature and weather — is to listen to your body. You might be gung-ho about pushing yourself to your limits, but you need to observe yourself and listen to your body if you want to avoid heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Stop immediately the moment you feel nauseated, weak, or faint, and take some breaks in between exercises.
Take cold showers
After your workout, consider opting for cold showers to help your body cool down. You can also take a cold shower before your workout, especially if you’re thinking of going on a long jog.
Avoiding heatstroke and protecting yourself during the heat of the summer is all about paying attention to your body’s signals and needs. Consider consulting with your doctor as well to determine what kind of workout routines your body is ready for this summer, especially if you’re taking different medications for certain health issues. No matter what, choosing to stay fit is always commendable, so give yourself a pat on the back and keep yourself healthy and safe out there.