While the summer months offer lots of daylight and sunshine for exercising outdoors, for many people the season also brings dangerous heat and humidity. Exercising during the summer heat can put you at risk for dehydration and heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors during the beautiful summer months. Summertime is a great opportunity to get outdoors and to stay active; the key is simply doing it safely. Here are some tips to make sure that you’re able to get the most out of your summer workouts, meet your fitness goals, and stay healthy.
This might sound basic, but it’s so important that it’s worth addressing first. Staying hydrated is essential when working out on hot days. Besides the inherent dangers of dehydration, it also puts you at increased-risk of heat-related illnesses because it makes it harder for your body to stay cool and maintain a safe body temperature.
As a result, it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after working out. There are a number of factors impacting your hydration needs, but good guidelines to follow are:
- 15-20 ounces 2-3 hours before exercising
- 8 ounces 15-30 minutes before exercising
- 8 ounces every 20 minutes during your workout
- 8 ounces 15-30 minutes after your workout
In most instances, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated. However, if you’re working out for more than an hour, it can help to supplement your water intake with some sips of a sports drink.
Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day
With the right precautions, you can exercise outdoors all summer long. However, it’s a good idea to be strategic about the time of day that you’re outdoors. As much as possible, you should avoid working out during the hottest part of the day, which is usually around 10 am until 3 pm. Plan ahead and schedule your workouts early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the most dangerous times of day.
Dress for the Weather
Dressing appropriately can help to keep your body temperature at a safe level, so it’s important to be thoughtful about what you’re wearing on hot days. Light-weight and loose-fitting clothing is best. Also, avoid wearing dark colors that will absorb more heat. And, if it won’t interfere with your workout, a light-colored, wide-brimmed hat will help to keep you cool.
Besides being uncomfortable, sunburn can decrease your body’s ability to cool itself. To avoid getting sunburned during summer workouts, it’s important to always wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Also, you’ll want to reapply at least every two hours even if the sunscreen says that it’s sweat-proof.
Regularly wearing sunscreen when working out will not only keep you more comfortable in the summer and help you avoid heat-related illnesses, but it also reduces your risk of getting skin cancer.
Give Yourself Time to Acclimate to the Heat
If you’re not used to working out in heat or humidity, make sure you give your body plenty of time to adjust. This means starting slow and gradually adding to the length and intensity of your workouts. It usually takes around one to two weeks for your body to acclimate to strenuous activity in the heat; so give yourself time and don’t push too hard while you’re adjusting.
Listen to Your Body
One of the most important things you can do to stay safe is to listen to your body, know the warning signs of heat-related illnesses, and take a break when you start to feel them. If you don’t, the symptoms will only worsen.
Here are common warning signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion that you should know and pay attention to:
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Excessive sweating
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Confusion or irritability
- Low blood pressure
- Vision problems
If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercising right away, get out of the heat, lower your body temperature, and hydrate.
Enjoy the Summer
It’s fun to get outside more in the summer, and it’s a great time to stay active and fit. Yet, heat-related illnesses can be dangerous, so it’s important to take some steps to make sure that you stay healthy and safe even on the hottest days.
And, as you plan for what you’ll wear when working out this summer, don’t forget to add some bright and fun compression socks to your wardrobe. After all, you don’t just want to stay cool, you also want to look cool. Check out our Spring and Summer Collection for some seasonal favorites!