How to Avoid Heat Exhaustion During Summer Workouts
Anyone who exercises outdoors during the summer months likely understands the extra physical toll it takes on the body. Residents in southern and western states within the U.S. have to be extra cautious, as getting overheated poses a legitimate health threat.
Fortunately, there are benefits to working out when it’s warm, including increased blood flow, physical adaptations, fast physical gains, and psychological benefits, according to Fitness Nation. Of course, gyms and health clubs offer an indoor alternative, allowing workout warriors the option to avoid the heat altogether and exercise.
For those who are committed to keeping their fitness going outdoors, Penn Medicine recommends the following tips:
Stay hydrated with the RIGHT fluids: Water is your best friend on a hot day for staying hydrated; however, if you’re planning to exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may also want to consider sipping on a sports drink. Sports drinks are important when working out for prolonged periods of time, especially in the heat, because they contain potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body. The high levels of sodium may actually be good for your body as well as sodium is a key ingredient for a hot day. As with everything, moderation is key.
Wear light clothing: Bright colors are good since they will reflect the sun and also help to make you more visible to oncoming traffic. Cotton is a light-weight and affordable material that can help you to stay dry. If you’re willing to splurge a bit more, opt for sweat-wicking shirts and shorts to keep the sweat at bay.
Timing is everything: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is known for being the hottest time of the day in the summer. If you’re planning an outdoor workout, try to do it either before or after this time slot. Many athletes prefer to work out earlier in the morning as it can help them to stay energized throughout the day and to sleep better at night.
Additionally, University Hospitals offers four more suggestions, including: 1) Get Used To Exercising in Hot Weather; 2) Maintain Hydration; 3) Take in Carbohydrates; 4) Plan for Recovery.
In 2001, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Kory Stringer died at age 27 after overworking his body on a hot day. The NFL changed protocols as a result of his death. The tragedy serves as a sobering reminder that heat exhaustion can be deadly, so take the necessary precautions to avoid elevating risk to a dangerous extent. Of course, it is always wise to talk to your doctor before setting any overly ambitious goals.