Having fun outside is a great way to exercise and stay in shape, but precautions must be taken as temperatures rise. Here’s a short list of things to remember when heading outdoors:
We just don’t have “it.”?On average, we use more energy when it’s hotter to cool our bodies off. As a result we might feel sluggish or get tired sooner than expected.?(Heavier people are especially affected.)??If this happens to you, don’t be alarmed. You may not be used to the heat yet, and it’ll take some time to get acclimated.
Even then, you may not be able to perform as well as in the cooler months. Let your body?get used to the heat gradually. If you’re out training and you feel the need to slow down or stop because of the heat, do NOT let your ego get in the way. Listen to your body and do what?it tells you to do. Some things can’t be rushed and?getting used to the heat outdoors is one?of them.
Drink, Drink, Drink.?This is probably the most important thing you can do. The need for water and drinks with electrolytes increases dramatically when exercising in the heat. Drink a glass (or 2)?of water before heading out and sip every 15 minutes or so thereafter. Don’t rely on your thirst to indicate if you need water.? Many times, if you wait until you’re thirsty you might be dehydrated already and your performance could suffer.
Electrolytes: Lost and Found.?When we sweat, we lose not only water, but vital nutrients like sodium and electrolytes.? The American diet is high in sodium, but a lack of sodium can occur when exercising in the extreme heat. If working out for more than an hour in the heat, consider taking an electrolyte capsule to?maintain your sodium & electrolyte levels.
Hyponatremia.?This condition?is defined as a low concentration of sodium in the blood.?Hyponatremia.?can occur if a person loses salt via sweating and doesn’t replace it promptly. If a person only drinks water after working out for an extended period of time (60 minutes or more) they increase the risk of having a sodium deficiency in the body.
Use sunscreen.? We live in an era where no one is immune from skin cancer. When doing activity outdoors you need sun protection. Consider adding sunscreen 15 minutes into your workout. Waiting to apply sunscreen allows the body to absorb vitamin D.
Wear loose, heat specific workout clothes.? The days of wearing?cotton tees to exercise in are long gone.? Invest in clothing that dries quickly and won’t stick to your skin. ?Also consider?wearing a hat and sunglasses to shield your eyes and face from the sun.
Early to bed, early to rise.? Try getting out early to get your hard? training in when it’s much cooler. If you’re not training for a specific event where you must perform in the heat, why bother? ?Get up early, catch a beautiful sunrise, workout and get on with the rest of your day.