Staying Cool During Hot-Weather Workouts
Regular exercise is an important part of reaching and maintaining your weight-loss goals. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you can neglect your workouts. However, even though it’s essential to exercise year-round, it’s also important to remember that exercising in hot weather puts your body under additional stress, increasing your risk of heat-related illnesses such as cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Here’s how you can stay safe.
Time Your Workouts Well
Pay attention to weather forecasts and know what the temperature is expected to be during your workout. If you leave in the late morning for a long walk or run, for example, realise that it is likely to grow significantly hotter while you’re out – and plan accordingly.
It can’t be said enough – drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration plays a significant role in heat illness. Drinking lots of water helps your body sweat enough and remain cool. If you will be exercising intensely and sweating a lot, a sports drink may be the best choice.
Your best bet when temperatures soar is lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, which keeps you cooler by reflecting heat and helping sweat evaporate. Dark colours absorb heat and have the opposite effect. If possible, a wide-brimmed, light-coloured hat will add extra protection, as will sunscreen, something you should be wearing anytime you exercise outside anyway.
Have a Backup Plan
You have to work out – but you don’t necessarily have to do it outdoors. If the heat or humidity is too high, choose a different option such as walking or climbing stairs inside, working out at the gym, or swimming.
Know Your Medical Risk
Certain medical conditions increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness. Before working out in the heat, talk to your doctor to be sure it’s safe.
Watch for Warning Signs
Never ignore symptoms of heat illness. Rest, lower your body temperature, and drink some water if you experience nausea, unusual fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or vision problems. If you don’t feel better within about 20 minutes, seek emergency medical attention.
Heat-related illness is almost always preventable. Keep some basic precautions in mind, and there’s no reason you can’t continue your healthy routine year-round.