Sunshine, longer days and warmer temperatures mean more opportunities for everyone to get outside and get active! Summer activity options are practically endless: swimming, hiking, biking, skating, building a backyard obstacle course, or organizing a neighborhood soccer game. Even gardening or walking the dog counts.
But when the temperature goes up, being active outdoors does have its challenges. It’s easier to become overheated and put extra stress on your body when the sun is beaming down. So before you step out into the rising temps, let's explore the dos and don'ts of working out in the hot weather.
Do: Dress to impress
Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow your skin to breathe, wick away sweat, and let the cool breeze in. And don't forget the hat and sunglasses combo—they're like the dynamic duo that protects your face from the evil UV rays.
Don't: Prolong your time in the midday heat
Try to avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, typically between 11 am–4 pm. This will lower your risk for heat exhaustion, sun stroke and dehydration. Your body will thank you for choosing a cooler time, like early morning or late evening, when the sun isn’t as hot.
Do: Stay hydrated
When you're sweating buckets, your body loses precious fluids, and it's crucial to replenish them. If you’re not properly hydrated it can affect your performance and even lead to the more serious effects of dehydration like nausea, vomiting and kidney problems. Drink water before, during and after physical activity. Keep a water bottle by your side and sip on it regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Hot tip: Freeze your half-full water bottle overnight then fill it the rest of the way before you head out. The ice keeps the water cold, and the rest of the bottle will thaw gradually, allowing you to enjoy refreshing, ice-cold water all day.
Don't: Be a human lobster
Sunscreen is your best friend. Slather on that SPF, covering every exposed inch of skin. Remember, sunburns are a bummer, and so is premature aging, and potential long-term damage such as skin cancer caused by the sun's harmful rays. It's a good idea to choose a sunscreen with a sports formula that's designed to withstand a workout (and won't be washed away by sweat).
Do: Listen to your body
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you start experiencing dizziness, extreme thirst, nausea, cramps or dry mouth, it could be a sign of heat exhaustion or dehydration. So hit the brakes and seek some shade. Once you feel better, you can slowly restart your activity, but remember, you may not be able to work out as long or as hard as usual when it’s very hot outside.
Don't: Forget your pre- and post-workout snacks
Healthy pre- and post-workout snacks can also help you stay cool. Just remember to keep it light. It takes energy for your gut to digest a heavy meal, and that creates more body heat—which is not what you want when you’re already hot.
Some of our favorite cool snack suggestions:
Let's be real, working out in the hot weather can be a challenging endeavor, but armed with these dos and don’ts, you can embrace the warmth and sunshine, and let the season inspire you to get outside and get moving!