Summer Exercise Safety

Summers are hot and humid and people don’t always feel the urge to exercise when it’s so hot.  But you don’t have to let heat stop you from enjoying a fun day in the sun, especially when there are so many great ways to exercise outside during the summer!  Swimming is one of the best activities that you can perform for overall physical fitness. Swimming involves almost all of your major muscle groups, including your shoulders, chest, triceps, biceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. The gentle pressure of water against your skin also enhances blood circulation. What could be better than a cool pool, lake or ocean on a hot summer day!


Exercising safely in the summer heat is crucial.  Here are 4 tips for safe summer exercising:


  1. Stay Hydrated! Because your body is mostly water, dehydration is the biggest concern during summer exercise sessions. Exercising outdoors on a really hot day can double the amount of water you lose on a normal day and put your body at risk for heat stroke. Drinking water while you exercise outdoors is essential. Drinking water before you start is even better because it increases the body’s ability to maintain proper temperature.


  1. Exercise Timing: The afternoon is often the hottest part of the day and exercising at this time puts a lot of stress on your body. The heart has to work harder to provide blood and oxygen to muscles. Try setting your alarm a half hour earlier in the AM and get in a workout before you start your morning. Exercising early is a great way to jump-start your day.


  1. Dress Appropriately! Wearing loose fitting, lightly colored clothing is key when exercising in the heat. Clothing that reflects the suns heat and is made of materials designed to keep sweat away from the skin help to cool the body.  Remember to also wear a hat to shield your face.  If you are choosing to do your workout at night, have reflective clothing, or put reflective tape on your clothing.  If you are running at night, purchase a headlamp or get reflectors on your shoes.


  1. Warm Up!  Even though you are already hot, it is important to acclimate yourself to the heat with less-intense exercise before heading out for a usual workout. Giving the body time to adjust to the temperature lowers the stress on the heart and can reduce the amount you sweat. If you normally have hour-long workouts, break it up into 30 minute segments, recovering and re-hydrating between workout sessions.


How do you work up a sweat outdoors?


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