I look forward to summer as a time to be active outdoors, but exercising in the heat can be hazardous to your health. You don't have to put your fitness routine on vacation when it gets hot, but you do need to take extra precautions to stay safe as temperatures rise.
Natalie's Tips for a Safe Workout in Summer Heat
- Stay hydrated: Your body needs water to cool off in hot weather. Drink several glasses of agua in the hours leading up to your workout and keep a water bottle with you to rehydrate during exercise. I also like to snack on high-moisture foods like watermelon and other fresh fruits.
- Work out indoors: Got AC? Push aside your coffee table and squeeze in a cardio and strength training workout at your casa with a circuit routine like the one I share in Fitness: Four Reasons to Love Circuit Training. The gym is also an ideal summer workout spot. I save money with specials for new members or online coupons. Need extra motivation? Group fitness classes provide cool high-intensity workouts with an instructor to keep you accountable. Two of my favorites are spinning which I review in Tour de France Fitness: 4 Tips for a Successful Spinning Class and dance-based Masala Bhangra which I describe in ¡Fitness! Why Work Out When You Can Dance?.
- Exercise in the coolest part of the day: I prefer to break a sweat outdoors because simply being outside can lift my mood, as I mention in Fitness: 3 Reasons to Exercise Outside. Beat the heat by moving early in the morning--also a great way to energize for the day--or evening. Remember to always wear sunscreen and cool, loose clothing.
- Get in the water: Take a trip to the piscina to swim laps or try another pool workout I recommend in Fitness: Obesity a Recognized Disease, Prevention is Key! Stay Active All Summer With a Pool Workout, or try a boating activity like kayaking or canoeing which I describe in Fitness: 4 Reasons to Try Canoeing this Summer.
- Slow down and take breaks: Hot days are no time to push yourself to set a new personal record--your body is already working harder to prevent overheating. I split my summer jogs into two parts with a 15 minute break in between.
Whenever you work out, listen to your body. If you experience any signs of heat exhaustion like dizziness, nausea, weakness, cramps, or an increase in body temperature, immediately get out of the heat and drink lots of water. If you are not feeling better within 30 minutes, contact a health professional.
Regular exercise is key to maintaining good health. Don't skip this important part of your routine in the dog days of summer. Easy precautions can keep you cool while you make your muscles burn.
¿Need workout inspiration? Click here to read more of my fitness suggestions.
A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.How do you keep your summer workouts cool?