Temperatures are rising, summer is just around the corner and warmer sunny days are upon us. If you like exercising outdoors, this doesn't mean you have to wait for autumn to hit in order to stay fit. You just need to learn how to make your way through the torrid summer months performing your workouts.
A few things you need to know first.
Under normal conditions, your natural cooling system takes over, making your skin, perspiration level and blood vessels adjusts to the heat. When temperatures rise, heat exhaustion makes your body sweat, carrying the heat away. When the air is filled with humidity, you experience a heavier sweat that evaporates slower, decelerating the body's process of cooling down.
There are some risk factors that come with high temperatures, like heat cramps, lightheadedness, fainting, weakness, nausea and heartstroke. This is why we need to follow some guidelines to exercise smart in the heat.
Try to adjust. One of the first things you need to do is to reorganize your workout schedule and just work around the weather and the time you have. Avoid the hottest part of the day. Be sure to regularly check the weather to see what's expected.
Keep your body hydrated. Sweat means only one thing: potential dehydration. The hotter the temperatures are, the higher the risk for dehydration, especially in the course of an intense workout. Our bodies are about 50 to 60% water and it's best to maintain that amount by drinking five to ten ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes during workout. Of course you should stay hydrated before and after workout.
Wear lightweight, loosefitting clothing. It helps sweat evaporate faster and make your body feel cooler. Avoid any dark colours that can draw heat, choosing light colours instead.
Cut down on intensity. When training in heat, it may not be the best time to push yourself. Instead, try splitting your workout in two sessions you can do throughout the day. Taking breaks is ok too! It's better to ease up, slow down your pace and have a good time, rather than having to deal with heat exhaustion, don't you think?
Help your body get used to the heat. It's called heat acclimatization and it's the process in which your body adjusts to the stress of heat. It takes about two weeks of gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts for your body to get used to the heat while training. However, you need to ease your way into it, so don't start at your normal rate, but rather try to get there by acclimating your body to the heat. If you do it right, you will become a better sweater, your cardiovascular function will improve and you will also increase your exercise performance.
Take it inside. Listen to your body and the signs it gives you. You'll know it's time to head inside when you get muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea or vomiting. An exercise bike, treadmill, or any small piece of equipment are perfect for working out indoors.
Try exercising in water. You could get a great workout in a local pool. There are many fun water exercises that can tone your whole body, and give you perfect break from a hot day.
So there it is. If you want to have a great summertime workout, following the above tips will certainly help you do that. Just remember, above all, to stay hydrated and to listen to your body.
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