The heat is on — for you to get in shape this summer! Looking good and more importantly “feeling good”, in a bikini while you laze by the pool doesn’t come easy. No, it takes some serious sweating. But exercising when it’s hot out can be daunting and sometimes, downright dangerous. We’ve all been there — you head out for a run and 20 minutes later you’re kneeled over, feeling weak and dizzy. Fortunately, there are ways to work out safely in the heat. Read on to find out how to keep yourself, cool, hydrated and in shape.
Sweat It Out
Since our bodies are warmer than the environment, our muscles have to adapt to the temperature change in the summer. This usually happens by releasing sweat, which allows our bodies to cool. Although sweat is also an important fluid that our bodies rely on desperately. It’s what keeps us hydrated and functioning.
When we are dehydrated, at a certain point the body stops sweating, meaning that we stop cooling off. Oftentimes this can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, weakness, cramping, nausea, heat exhaustion or even stroke.
If you plan on keeping up your workout outdoors, give your body time to adjust to the warmer temperatures by exposing yourself to it in gradual doses. Start with low impact workouts, first for 20 minutes, then 45 minutes, an hour and finally, the full amount of time of your typical work out session. This should take you about two weeks, and is a particularly a good idea if you intend on participating in an event like a marathon in the middle of the day. Otherwise, recreational exercise is best done in the mornings before 7 am and the evenings after 6 pm when temperatures are cooler.
To stay even cooler when you exercise, wear lightweight clothing that’s designed to wick sweat away from the body, and opt for lighter colors that will reflect the sun. Shorts are also a good idea, as they don’t interfere with the working muscles in your legs as you exercise. Pants trap sweat and make cooling difficult.
Get Your Drink On
To tell if you’ve been hydrating yourself properly during your workouts, weigh yourself before and after the gym. If you find that you’ve magically shed a pound or two, it means you are not drinking enough water.
The pee test, unappealing as it may sound, is also a good litmus for hydration. If your urine is light yellow, you’ve been drinking your water, but if it’s darker and takes on a slightly brown tone, you’re in trouble. Try drinking at least 20 ounces of water two hours before you begin exercising, eight ounces 15 minutes before and then periodically sip throughout the session.
Make Smart Choices
Skip the early morning run if you capped off the night before with a plate of nachos and pitcher of margaritas. Salty meals zap the water right out of you and you’ll further dehydrate yourself with exercise. Get some sleep, hydrate throughout the day and plan on making up your run at night when you’ve recovered.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be a hot weather workout guru in no time!