Exercising in the Heat
Summer is upon us and even though warm weather is officially here to bring so many smiles to our faces, the promise of heat and humidity remains in our inevitable future. With people eager to get moving, the enthusiasm to get back into workout mode increases significantly. Although exciting, it is important to recognize how both internal and external environments are changing throughout these next few months. Our bodies react differently when heat is introduced, especially when exercising. Most fitness facilities offer dry and cool areas to move around in at higher intensities to avoid any potential issues. Those who quarantine or choose to stay home have greater difficulty, as many homes don’t offer the best ventilation. If you find yourself working out at home, there are some precautions you should keep in mind to help you stay safe while achieving your fitness goals!
- If possible, exercise in a cool, dry space
Places around the house such as a garage or basement are great because they are typically open and allow a serious amount of ventilation. Remember that heat rises, so take that into consideration when finding your summer workout spot. If you live in the city or have a smaller apartment or home, try to provide yourself with a constant air source like a fan or air conditioner to open up and circulate the space around you. Exercising early in the morning or later in the evening is the best time during the summer to be active, as that is when it is the coolest outdoors. This especially applies to those who prefer being outside while working out.
- Lower your overall exercise intensity
It doesn’t take long for the body to feel the effects of the summer temperatures, even without exercising. Performing the same exercises you did in March is going to feel much more difficult in June. Our bodies are working harder to maintain their body temperature and not overheat. Heat and humidity cause our bodies to feel fatigued at a faster rate, which leads us to sweat faster and become dehydrated easier. When moving around at any intensity, make sure to rest as much as you need to. This does not necessarily mean to lower any specific weights you are using, but rather to take a few extra minutes to evaluate the number of sets and repetitions you are doing and making any needed adjustments.
- Drink water – It’s that simple!
Whether or not you are exercising intensely, it is so important to drink plenty of water to keep the body as hydrated as possible. It appears obvious, but many of us neglect it and dehydration can lead to multiple health risks such as heat stroke, fainting spells, fatigue, headaches, and a general decrease in energy. Hydration is key when keeping our bodies in the best condition. It will also help you from feelings associated with any midday siesta cravings. Fatigue comes upon us quickly and we have to watch ourselves to make sure we are drinking water consistently throughout the entire day. Not only will it ‘literally’ cool you down, but your muscles will thank you.