Anyone who has worked out during the summer knows how the heat can quickly drain your energy and make exercise feel like a chore. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your fitness goals for the season.
Whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, or playing sports, any form of physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle year-round. So don’t let the summer heat get in the way of your workout routine!
Here are some ways to exercise safely in the summer heat to help you stay comfortable while working up a sweat.
Planning your workouts during the cooler hours of the day is essential for exercising in hot weather. As much as possible, schedule your training early in the morning (before 10 am) or late at night (after 6 pm) when temperatures are lower.
If you’re working out in the middle of the day, try to do it indoors or find a shady spot in the park or backyard to avoid overheating. Doing so will reduce your risk for heat-related illnesses and give you more energy during your workout.
Staying hydrated is important, especially when exercising in hot weather. Make sure to drink plenty of water before (17-20 oz.), during (7-10 oz. every 10-20 minutes), and after (16-24 oz. over the next six hours) your workouts to keep your body cool and replenish lost fluids.
If you’re exercising for over an hour, consider drinking a sports drink to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. Choose a low-sugar variant and consume only when necessary.
Regardless of the time of day, applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher provides an essential layer of protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Whether you’re working out indoors or outdoors, sunscreen helps protect your skin from sunburns and other skin damage.
To get the most out of your sunscreen, especially during outdoor workouts, apply it at least 15 minutes before and reapply every two hours or after sweating heavily.
Proper clothing is key to staying comfortable in the summer heat, and this is true even when you’re staying indoors. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe, and choose moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon or polyester to help keep you cool and dry.
The colour of your workout clothes can also make a difference. Light colours reflect the heat away from the body, while dark colours absorb it. So opt for light or neutral shades to keep your body temperature down.
Many people push themselves too hard during workouts, which can lead to exhaustion and heat stroke. Take 5-10 minutes every 30 minutes for hydration and rest, which will help keep your body temperature in check.
Always start your workout with a warm-up and end it with a cool-down. Doing so will help you avoid feeling dizzy or lightheaded during high-intensity activities in the heat.
Determining how much physical activity is safe for you in the summer heat depends on your fitness level and age. If you’re new to exercising, start slowly and gradually build up the intensity of your workouts as your body adjusts to the increasing temperatures.
If you feel particularly drained or lightheaded, take it as a sign to slow down and rest for a bit. Listen to your body’s cues and focus on less intense activities that require less energy, like yoga or walking.
Gym or home workouts, running, and sports are excellent ways to get a good workout during summer. But the intense heat and humidity can quickly take a toll on your body if you’re unprepared.
Our highly trained practitioners at Calgary Integrative Medicine are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal health with our unique approach to preventative, corrective, and sustainable care.
Book an appointment with us to start your journey to better health and fitness this summer.