Beauty & Confidence

7 Rules of a Safe Summer Workout

There’s no better place for exercise than the great outdoors. Here, our personal trainer breaks down...

Stoked that summer is here? The balmy weather means you can take your workout outdoors. And while nothing beats the scenery of running in the park or biking on country roads, it’s important to remember that exposing yourself to greater amounts of heat and sun can take a toll. So before you lace up your sneakers or break out your bike, consider these simple safety guidelines:

Summer Workout Tip No. 1: Take it down a notch.

For your first few hot-weather jogs or bike rides, take it a little easier than usual. This will give your body a chance to adjust to the higher stress of exercising in the heat. According to the American Council on Exercise, it takes about two weeks for your body to acclimate to a higher temperature. In the meantime, you’ll definitely need a few facial tissues to mop up the sweat after these workouts.

Summer Workout Tip No. 2: Consider rescheduling.

If you have an intense workout -- like a long run or bike ride -- planned, schedule it for a cooler time of day, like the early morning (before 10 a.m.) or evening (after 6 p.m.).

Summer Workout Tip No. 3: Rethink your fluids.

Don’t wait until you’re red-faced and thirsty to reach for your water bottle. It’s important to drink water before, during and after your workout, especially when you’re sweating more. To stay well-hydrated, the American Council on Exercise recommends drinking:

· 17-20 ounces of water two hours before your workout

· 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during your workout

· 8 ounces within 30 minutes of finishing

Weighing yourself is good way to check hydration. If you’re lighter after a hot, sweaty workout, replace lost fluids by drinking 16-24 ounces of water for each pound you’re down.

Working out for an hour or more? Sports drinks can be helpful for replacing electrolytes, which are lost through heavy sweating.

Summer Workout Tip No. 4: Your body cools itself by sweating, but the more humid it is (the more moisture in the air there is), the harder it is for your sweat to evaporate and effectively cool you. Remember to check the heat index and not just the thermometer reading, since it factors in temperature and humidity. You can determine the heat index yourself by using this tool.

Think it might be too hot today? This chart from The Weather Channel shows heat-related health risks that are present at different levels of heat and humidity.

Summer Workout Tip No. 5: Remember these 3 L’s when selecting outdoor workout duds for summer: lightweight, loose-fitting and light-colored. White and lighter-colored clothes reflect the sun better than darker colors; light, loose clothes allow skin to breathe and sweat to evaporate more easily. A good option: technical, sweat-wicking fabrics.

Summer Workout Tip No. 6: Showing some skin when exercising makes it easier for sweat to evaporate and cool you, but also increases your exposure to UV rays. Protect yourself by applying sunscreen with SPF 30 to all exposed areas about 15 minutes before heading outdoors.

Shield your face and eyes by wearing a brimmed hat (or visor) and sunglasses that are designed to block at least 99 percent UVA and UVB rays. When possible, try to plan outdoor routes that include some time in the shade, and stash a few facial tissues in your pocket to wipe down post-exercise.

Summer Workout Tip No. 7: If you start to experience signs of dehydration or overheating, such as dizziness, weakness and nausea, find some shade and get some fluids immediately.

If exercising in the heat feels like a miserable task, don’t force it. What’s most important is that you enjoy your workout and want to keep doing it. Take your workout indoors until the weather becomes more comfortable.

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