Exercising in the Heat
You may recognize this exercising in the heat post recently featured on the Athleta chi blog.
Even though summer is winding down in the northeast of the US, there’s still plenty of time to get outside and sweat!
Whether you prefer cycling, running, urban boot camps or yoga, classes move from gyms and studios to parks, waterfronts and urban settings.
With added time spent outside we increase the amount we sweat; therefore, the risk of dehydration and heatstroke increases as well. When it comes to outdoor summer fitness, think preventative maintenance as opposed to damage control. With a little prior planning you can prevent poor performance. Here are a few quick tips to keep you safe while exercising in the heat:
This cannot be stressed enough. As soon as you wake up start drinking your water in preparation for the day’s activities. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning can set you up for success. When it’s hot outside we sweat more. When we sweat more we lose more salts and electrolytes from our bodies. It’s important to replace these salts, but forget about those bright sugary drinks sold in plastic bottles for convenience. Try making your own homemade electrolyte mix! It’s easy, less expensive and more environmental. (See recipe below). Drink a glass before your activity, then two as soon as you get home. If you have a long training day planned, bring it with you! If you are going to be out 30 minutes or longer, plan to hydrate during your activity. Take a sip every 15 minutes to prevent the onset of thirst.
Wear Technical Clothing.
Have you ever heard the expression “cotton kills”? Cotton traps moisture making a garment heavy and wet. Lightweight moisture-wicking fabrics made from synthetic fibers will keep you cooler by wicking moisture from your skin and allowing it to evaporate off the fabric. Technical clothing also helps to prevent chafing on a long run.
Companies like Athleta and Lole have some great options!
It’s all in the Details.
No, not the latest in fashion trends (unless it’s a heart rate monitor)! Obviously on a bike ride you wear a helmet… right? During runs, a hat is nice to keep the sun off your face and lips. If you’ve ever had sunburned lips you know how brutal it can be. If you’re like me and get too hot with a hat on, get a cap with a vented back or try a visor. You may feel you look silly, but trust me, you’ll look even worse with a sunburn! Sunglasses with UV protection are a must to prevent damage to your retinas, plus help keep those little lines at bay. Save the crow’s feet for your yoga mat!
This is often ignored since you don’t want to feel greasy or sweaty while you are active. Understandable, but the risk of skin cancer is just too great. Try Headhunter products, used by surfers. I use their lip balm, clear face stick, and sunscreen. Since they are developed for surfers they stay put and won’t sting your eyes when you sweat.
Timing is Key.
Plan your outdoor exercise early in the morning before 10 a.m., or in the evening before sunset. Between 12-5 p.m. tends to be the hottest part of the day. Try to avoid extreme activity during these times, especially if there’s a heat advisory or an ozone alert. The pollutants in the air aren’t worth it. There are times that you’re just going to have to stay inside where it’s nice and cool. Take care. Honor your body. When it comes to health and wellness, sometimes backing off becomes the exercise or practice in and of itself. Chances are you may need a break anyway. Use this time to take in that yoga class you’ve been neglecting!
ELECTROLYTE HYDRATION CONCOCTION:
- 1 quart of water
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lime
- Juice from 1 orange
- Squeeze of pure maple syrup or honey (for sweetness & carbs)
- 1 teaspoon of salt (grind it for easier absorption)
- Chunk of ginger that has been juiced (if you don’t have a juicer you can grate, slice or choose to skip it)
The basics are the water, salt and citrus of your choice. Play around with different ratios of the ingredients. You’re sure to find a blend that suits your taste.
Post your comments or tips below!