Soaring temperatures don’t have to prevent you from getting your daily exercise if you prefer outdoor activities. Exercising in the heat puts extra stress on your body and causes an increased heart rate, so use caution if you have any heart conditions (always consult with your doctor). If you’ve got the green light, here are a few ways to keep cool:
- Run/walk in the evening. Temperatures begin to fall around 7 pm and usually drop off several more degrees between 8 and 9 pm. If you can still fall asleep after an evening workout, then this is the best time to do it. Early mornings could work, too, but the humidity tends to be higher and the air more still in the AM. An evening breeze might just be the thing that pushes you the extra mile.
- Staying hydrated. Drink 8 ounces of water before you begin your outdoor workout. Sip water throughout and don’t let yourself feel thirsty – once you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated. Drink another 8 ounces of water or a hydrating drink like coconut water or Gatorade immediately post-workout. Choose low-calorie options and look out for sugar overload on sports drinks.
- Signs of dehydration include headaches, nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and drowsiness. If you feel any of these, stop exercising immediately, drink lots of water and get inside an air-conditioned building.
- Bring a portable fan. The humidity in southeast Texas is extreme. When you exercise in high-humidity, your sweat (your body’s natural cooling system), doesn’t evaporate, which causes your internal temperature to rise even more. Using a fan to cool off will help the air circulate over your skin and aid in sweat evaporation, plus the breeze will feel great!
- Get acclimated. If you’re new to exercise in general or to exercising in the heat, start out easy and work your way up to a challenging workout. It generally takes about two weeks to adjust to a new climate, so if you’ve just moved here from a cooler location, don’t expect to continue your workouts at the same level. Listen to your body.
Exercising outdoors can be a great way to stay fit. Keep the above in mind to stay cool and safe, and don’t forget the sunscreen!