Safe and Healthy Summer Exercise

We’re well into the summer season, and rising temperatures can make it more and more difficult to stay outside for long periods of time. But if you’re planning to stick to outdoor workouts all season long, be sure you’re listening to your body and staying mindful of weather conditions that could be harmful to your physical health. Since physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, pushing your body past its limits can negatively affect your mental health too.

From preparing before your workout to allowing plenty of time for recovery afterward, get ready to beat the heat this summer with our tips for staying safe and healthy while exercising outside.

Get Ready to Head Outside

The sun’s UV rays are strongest in the summer, making your skin more susceptible to damage such as burns and wrinkles. And since higher temperatures usually mean wearing less clothing, it’s especially important to properly prepare your skin before exposing it to the summer sun.

Higher temperatures mean wearing less clothing, so it’s especially important to properly prepare your skin with sunscreen before exposing it to the summer sun.
Higher temperatures mean wearing less clothing, so it’s especially important to properly prepare your skin with sunscreen before exposing it to the summer sun.

After putting on sunscreen, be sure you’re dressed appropriately for the current weather conditions. While your body works to cool itself naturally as your exercise, wearing the proper clothing will help you stay cooler longer. Moisture-wicking clothes cool your body down by pulling excess sweat away from your skin so it can evaporate.  

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Doesn’t it seem like drinking water is the answer to everything? But getting proper hydration before, during, and after exercising really does make all the difference. Drinking plenty of water before a workout can actually help your body recover quicker afterward. And not getting enough water can lead to severe dehydration, fatigue, and dizziness. Exactly how much water to drink will vary person to person, but try to stick to a little more than two cups every hour. It’s also a good idea to add in a sports drink after heavier exercise to replenish your body’s potassium, sodium, and electrolytes.

Know When “Hot” Becomes “Too Hot”

It’s great to keep up with a regular exercise routine even during the summer months, but it may be time to head inside when the heat index rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Just like you wouldn’t subject your dog to a walk on the sizzling asphalt when it’s above a certain temperature, be mindful of hot weather conditions that can be detrimental to your own physical health.

It may be time to take your workout inside when the heat index rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
It may be time to take your workout inside when the heat index rises above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity should also be taken into consideration. Since sweating is your body’s way of staying cool, monitoring the amount of moisture on your body and in the air will help you know whether you’re getting the proper hydration. Dry climates make sweat evaporate quickly, while more humid areas prevent that evaporation, keeping the sweat sticking to your body. Both scenarios make it difficult to determine how much water you’ve lost, so just be sure to drink fluids regularly and don’t wait until you feel thirsty to reach for that bottle of water. Listen to your body and know when it’s time to take a break from the heat. 

Change the Time, Location, or Even the Workout Itself

While the sun’s rays are strongest during the summer, there are also certain times of the day where those UV rays are even more intense. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tends to be the hottest period of a summer day, so it’s better to exercise as early or as late in the day as possible. Many athletes actually prefer those early-morning workouts to keep them energized throughout the day.

Changing your location can also help protect you from the hot sun. But when a shady jog or 8 a.m. yoga session still aren’t cutting it, consider trying a different exercise instead. Staying hydrated isn’t water’s only benefit during summer. Water activities are great ways to stick to your workout while having an easy way to quickly cool down as outside temperatures continue to climb. And you aren’t restricted to swimming and surfing. Try scheduling a walk or run in the rain – as long as you’re prepared with waterproof clothing, of course.

Water activities are great ways to stick to your workout while having an easy way to quickly cool down.
Water activities are great ways to stick to your workout while having an easy way to quickly cool down.

Time to Cool Down

No matter how fit or prepared you are for the heat, many people still need longer recovery periods when exercising in summer weather. You might also notice that your normal workout is more difficult during the hotter months. So always give yourself plenty of time to cool down after a summer workout. Don’t rush those cool-down stretches, and keep the hydration going well after you’re finished exercising.

Our Cool Relief Cream is also a great item to have on hand to fight muscle soreness post-workout, and the intense cooling effects are an added bonus. Being outside during the summer can also mean unwanted bug bites, and our Cool Relief Cream is great for soothing those too.

The main thing to remember is to always be in tune with your body and what makes you feel your best. If sticking to a more structured workout schedule is important to you, don’t push yourself to exercise outdoors when the heat rises dramatically. Modifying your routine and finding indoor alternatives are still great ways to maintain good physical health no matter the weather.

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