Staying Healthy in the Heat

By Janine Neill

The summer months provide plenty of opportunities to be physically active outdoors in nature. If you are ditching the treadmill for the trails, follow these tips to ensure you are staying safe in the warmer temperatures.

Exercise Early: Schedule your training sessions when the temperatures are coolest, typically first thing in the morning or later in the day. If you cannot avoid the midday hours when the sun tends to be at its strongest , modify your routine and scale back as to not overexert yourself.

Stay hydrated: With the heat and humidity of summer comes the need to replenish fluids and electrolytes that are lost through exercising and sweating. Drink fluids before you start your workout and try to maintain an appropriate intake so that you do not get to the point of excessive thirst. Remember to continue to hydrate throughout the rest of the day as well.

Dress for Success: Wear loose fitting clothing which will likely be more comfortable once your core body temperature starts to increase. Choose material that wicks the sweat away from your body and does not restrict your movement. Avoid dark colors if you will be outside in direct sunlight, as it may absorb the sun’s rays and make you feel hotter. Do not forget to apply sunscreen and wear a hat as well.

Make sure you’re familiar with the signs of heat-related illness, such as lightheadedness and extreme headache. Especially in high humidity environments, the body can have trouble cooling itself down, so it’s especially important to stay hydrated and adjust your exercise routine accordingly.  Be smart about adjusting your routine based on how the weather is impacting how you feel. Scale things down by intensity, time duration or mode of exercise. Instead of trying to PR your 5K run, maybe today is the day that you just walk at a slower pace or you take your workout inside where it is cooler and do some indoor cycling or laps in the pool. You can also workout with a friend to stay accountable and safe at the same time.

Remember that adequately recovering will help you prepare for that next training session. Refuel with good nutrition, replenish your fluids, get enough sleep, and know when it is best to take a rest day.

Janine is an Implementation Manager with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator at her daughters’ athletic events, participating in water sport activities with her family, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming almond butter, and taking hot yoga classes. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks, and listening to podcasts.

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