After a long winter packed with indoor workouts, it’s finally warm enough to enjoy outdoor exercise! The beautiful weather is fantastic motivation to get outside and get moving, but before you break out the exercise gear, make sure you take the right precautions to stay safe and healthy.
Working out in the heat is a lot different from exercising in cool temperatures. With the sun beating down and the temperatures soaring, it’s key to keep in mind the dangers of heat and heat exhaustion. We’ve compiled a few safety tips for summer workouts so you can keep up your physical activity in a healthy way.
During the hot summer months, you should never wait until you’re thirsty to drink water! To keep your body fully hydrated, you need to prepare for your workout by drinking 20 ounces of water at least two hours before and another 8 ounces of water—at minimum—immediately following your workout. In addition, carry a water bottle during your workout and drink at least 10 ounces every fifteen minutes!
Staying hydrated means avoiding drinks like soft drinks and coffee before your workout, too. These caffeinated beverages are diuretics and will further dehydrate you. If you have an intense workout, be sure to hydrate and find water or another healthy drink to replenish your electrolytes!
It’s normal to feel wiped after your workout; however, if you begin to feel ill or unwell, don’t automatically assume it’s because you’re having an off day. Your body’s natural reaction to heat is to sweat, but with temperatures approaching or reaching triple digits, your body can easily become overheated. The same workout you did in the cooler temperatures of the gym can take a lot more energy in the heat of the summer. Take your workouts slow and steady until your body has time to adjust to the heat.
When it’s humid out, your sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly, causing your body to overheat and your clothes to feel sticky against your skin. Before you take advantage of the beautiful weather outside, be aware of the dangers of overheating with the three most common heat-related conditions below:
Especially in Indiana, it’s important to not only check the temperature, but also the humidity. Avoid the heat by exercising in the cooler hours of the day, like the early morning or late afternoon. With the sun rising early and falling late, you’ll have plenty of time to soak up some sunlight before the temperatures begin to skyrocket.
If you can only work out during the hottest portion of the day—10am to 4pm—change up your workout with a swim or an aquatics class. Keep cool as much as you can, and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Before you try working out in the heat of the day, adjust your workout’s duration and intensity to accommodate for the high temperatures and humidity.
Having a workout partner can not only make your workouts more enjoyable; they can also keep you safe and aware during the hot days of summer! Whether you’re going for a run, bike ride, swim, or a HIIT circuit, a partner can push you to your potential while also watching for any symptoms of heat-related conditions you may have.
It’s never safe to assume that you’re too fit to succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you stay vigilant and have a partner watching out for you, you can minimize your risk.
Indiana summers show no mercy when it comes to heat and humidity. Dress for the weather by avoiding unnecessary layers, thick fabrics, and dark colors. Darker and thicker fabrics—like polyester—trap the heat and will only make your outdoor workouts miserably hot.
Keep it light and loose to increase airflow and reduce your body’s temperature. Fill your summer workout wardrobe with light-colored, moisture-wicking fabrics—like cotton! Wearing lighter, brighter colors will also help drivers see you more easily if you’re exercising outside or along the road.
It feels great to get outside and exercise in the warm weather after months of being trapped inside! Before you make the leap, however, it’s important to adjust your workouts and prepare for the heat and humidity of Indiana summers. Stay safe and get your sweat on with these five workout safety tips! And, if exercising outside in the summer isn’t your thing, check out a family gym near you.
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up to date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website here.