Last Updated on June 20, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Exercising increases your core temperature. During the summer, this can be very dangerous if not monitored. For instance, I am prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. By pushing too hard, I am almost guaranteeing myself a trip to the emergency room. In fact, many people wind up suffering from both of these afflictions during the hotter months without exercises. This is because they don’t take precautions to deal with the heat.
Keeping Yourself Safe When Exercising
Here are a few things I focus on when exercising in the heat. They are quite simple, especially if you turn them into habits. Remember, pushing yourself too hard can have horrible consequences. This includes passing out or even raising the blood pressure to dangerous levels.
1. Drink Enough Water
Keeping hydrated is the number one aspect to keeping safe during the summer. When you sweat, you’re losing a large amount of water through the skin. Losing too much causes the body to become dehydrated. This is why it’s vital to get enough water when working out. Eating more fruits can also be beneficial since the food contains a great deal of water. During the summer, I’ll fill my 32oz water bottle any time I am getting read to work out.
2. Find Ideal Times of the Day
If at all possible, find the coolest parts of the day to exercise. Why not reduce the stress of high temperatures of the body if you can? This will make it much easier to get in a full workout without feeling drained or fatigued. Personally, I prefer mornings and nights when the temperatures are the coolest. My wife and I find it ideal to walk in the park after sundown. It’s well lit and safe, so we have no worries.
3. Know Your Limitations
There is nothing wrong with knowing when it’s time to quit. Working up a sweat is one thing, but you shouldn’t have to hurt yourself while exercising. High temperatures will do this to you. There have been times when I’ve stopped a routine simply because I was getting too hot. Since I know that I am prone to exhaustion and stroke, I dial it back or stop altogether.
4. Lightweight Clothing for Comfort
It’s important to wear the right clothing when working out during the summer. If you’re outside, make sure this clothing is also a light color. This is because sunlight reflects instead of attracts. For example, white causes the heat to reflect away while black absorbs it. I usually try to pick lighter tank-tops if I am going outside to ride or walk. This will help keep the body cool during the activity allowing you to get more out of the exercise.
5. Sodium Intake
I know a lot of people are afraid of sodium, but it’s vital if you want to keep yourself safe when working out in the summer. Sodium helps regulate blood sugar while affecting blood pressure. When you exercise or drink too much water, you can deplete the body of this component. This may result in fainting. There’s been a few times when low sodium levels caused me to shake during a workout. Some people will take salt pills or eat sodium-rich foods. Coincidentally, I haven’t had this problem since eating Progresso soups for lunch. It’s the morning workouts that affected me the most since I don’t usually have a lot of salt in my breakfast.
6. Taking Breaks
Make sure you take breaks even if you don’t feel like you need them. This can help avoid pushing yourself too hard. I know I feel better after a workout if I stick to regular breaks throughout the routine. If I am doing sets of exercises, I’ll try to get 30 seconds in between each for cool down. It makes the routine take longer to complete, but it’s a good way to avoid hurting yourself or causing a burn-out.
7. Protecting the Skin
Finally, make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on. Not only will this help prevent discomfort from the burn, but it can also reduce your risks to things like skin cancer. A lot of people will lather up with SPF 45 lotion. If you’re exercising and you begin to blister, you’ve been outside too long. I remember once when the sides of my arms looked like the inside of an orange. Essentially it was a bunch of tiny blisters that encircled a two-inch diameter on both of my outer biceps. It was pretty bad, and the section has long turned into a bunch of freckles on both areas.
The best way I avoid overheating during the summer while exercising is doing routines indoors. I crank up the AC and can go for a while without hurting myself. However, it’s the walking and riding I like to do outside during the day that makes it difficult. It makes no sense if you burn yourself up for the sake of fitness. Take precautions and make sure your summer workouts don’t send you to the hospital.