Top Tips for Working Out in The Summer Heat
Summers are perfect for hanging out with friends and enjoying the sunshine. It can be quite tempting to do your exercising outdoors during the wonderful weather. However, is it really advisable? Can the summer heat pose problems? What can be done to combat the issue? What are the conditions that you can encounter during your summer workout? If these are the questions that have been swarming your mind, let us make things easier for you.
How hot is too hot?
Summer heats should not be taken lightly. There have numerous cases wherein people have succumbed to the extreme heat waves as they were inadequately prepared. Excessive heat can be quite dangerous, and exercising in such weather can increase the danger by many folds.
The question is, how hot should be considered too hot for your summer workout? To understand this, you need to acquire an understanding of the reaction of your body to extreme conditions. Your body maintains a normal temperature via thermoregulation. A gland in your brain, the hypothalamus is responsible for managing this temperature. Drastic changes in temperature stimulate the hypothalamus to trigger processes that restore the body temperature to normal range.
When the core temperature of the body rises, the hypothalamus sends signals to increase circulation and move the blood in the body towards the surface. The superficial blood vessels are dilated, causing the heat to dissipate through the skin. You might have noticed your veins becoming prominent or your skin flushing when this happens.
The sweat glands are also activated as a result of which sweating commences causing the skin to cool down owing to evaporation. Lastly, the thyroid is also stimulated to ensure that less heat is created via the metabolic processes.
There is no fixed rule which can enable you to determine when it is too hot to exercise outdoors. However, there are some factors which should influence your decision to exercise outside.
For one thing, you need to realize if you are acclimated to the area. Is your body accustomed to the high temperature and dry heat? If your body is used to it, the physical stress it has to bear reduces significantly.
Your fitness also influences how your body would react to your summer workout. As per research, those who are fit aerobically adapt to extreme temperatures more quickly.
Problems encountered in the heat
If your body is exposed to excessive temperature and humidity for long durations and is not prepared for the same, you might have to face some dire consequences during your summer workout. The severity of heat-related illnesses varies. However, it is vital that you tackle the issue promptly at the first sign and make amends before it is too late.
One might experience painful cramps while exercising in the heat. In this case, the affected muscles feel hard to touch and can cause severe pain with spasm. It is quite possible that your body temperature is within normal limits during this.
Loss of consciousness is called syncope. You might have heard of exercise-related collapse. You might experience lightheadedness or dizziness prior to it. Heat syncope usually results when you stand or exercise in high temperatures for a long time. Standing quickly after sitting for a long duration can also cause the condition.
This occurs when the temperature of your body exceeds the normal limits and reaches up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more. At this point, you might experience nausea, weakness, or faint. Your skin might feel clammy and cold, although you are sweating.
If heat exhaustion is not treated at the right time, heat stroke results. The body temperature increases more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke is a medical emergency which can prove fatal if not treated promptly. While the skin does not sweat at this point, it can feel moist or dry to touch. The person becomes irritable and confused. Heart arrhythmias can also result. Emergency treatment is mandatory if the risk of organ failure, brain damage, and even death is to be minimized.
If you exercise out in the hot weather, it is vital to pay attention to your body. If you notice any signs of trouble, such as raced heartbeat or excessive sweating, it is essential that you stop exercising immediately. Get to a cool place and hydrate yourself. It would be best if you have someone by your side. Seek medical attention promptly if you experience any signs of heatstroke. These signs should never be ignored as they can put your life in jeopardy.
Tips for summer workouts
If you want to enjoy a summer workout and make sure that it does not compromise on your health, certain tips can be of help.
Time of workout
First of all, the time at which you work out is of immense importance. It is not advisable to head out for exercising in broad daylight when the heat is at its peak. Early morning exercises are always a better option. You can also shift your workout time to the afternoon when the temperature has subsided a bit.
Working out during summer requires wicking clothes. Get yourself breathable and lightweight wicking clothes. These ensure that the moisture is pulled away from the skin, thereby making you feel cooler. It would also be suitable if you wear a hat during your workout as it would keep the sun off your face and head.
It might sound a bit weird to shower before you head to workout. But you will find it quite beneficial in combatting the summer heat. The cold water cools you down. Leaving your hair wet while heading out will ensure that water drips down your neck and face, which would make you feel refreshed. You can also carry a bottle with you and squeeze some water on your head whenever you feel yourself getting a bit too hot.
Changing your workout routine
Perhaps you might want to try a different type of workout which is more suitable for the temperature. On the hot and humid days, cardio activities such as swimming or biking might be better.
The location of your workout
It is advisable to find cool places for your workout. Exercising by shady woods or breezy beach might do the trick. You would not only feel refreshed but would also be able to exercise more comfortably.
Split your workout sessions
It is not necessary to push yourself during summers. Decide how much time of exercising you can handle at a stretch in the weather and split your workouts accordingly. You can exercise twice or three times a day according to the time you can withstand in the heat.
If you are adamant on getting your thirty minutes of workout, it would be better if you avoid high-intensity routines. Make sure that you do not end up overheating yourself. It is acceptable to take breaks in workouts.
Perhaps this is not the best time to exercise out in the open? You can always work out indoors in a gym.
Nothing is more important than staying hydrated in summers. Do not drink water just before or after the workout. It is vital that you keep drinking water all day. Hydration prevents a lot of symptoms that one might experience due to the heat. While running, make sure that you drink at least four to eight ounces of water within every 15 minutes.
Some common mistakes to avoid
There are some mistakes that people often commit while exercising in the summers, which can prove costly.
Drinking only when thirsty
It is vital to understand the significance of water during the summer heat. Drink ample amount of water even if you do not feel thirsty. People often tend to substitute water with other drinks and consider themselves well-hydrated. This is a misconception. All liquids are not the same. Indeed, some even lead to excessive water loss from the body.
Exercising at high altitude
Exercising in the summer heat at high altitude can be quite dangerous since the availability of oxygen in these areas is low. It is advisable to avoid high-altitudes such as mountains during summer.
Not keeping track of the weather forecast
It is a good idea to check the weather forecast to determine the humidity levels before heading out to exercise. This can save you from a lot of problems.
It is good to be focused and disciplined when it comes to exercising. However, you need to understand when to draw the line. Putting your health and life at risk for a workout is never the right decision. If you want to enjoy your workout outdoors, make sure that you are adequately prepared for the same. Do not push yourself unnecessarily as it would do more harm than good.