A hot day can be beautiful for jogging, but it is also dangerous. The body cools down by sweating. The higher the temperature, the more you sweat. If you don’t take precautions, you could suffer health consequences.
Simple actions such as applying sunscreen, knowing the safest times to be outside and staying hydrated can keep you cool. Here’s how to exercise safely in hot weather.
Cool down before you work out
Don’t wait until you’re sweating to drink water or freshen up. Kinesiology teacher Stephen S. Cheung recommends lowering your body temperature before training. Drink ice water or place ice packs on your back.
Not only will this cool you down, it will also increase your performance. In 2014, a study revealed that cooling gives oxygen to your blood. When you exercise, you don’t have to expend as much energy. Plus, you’ll feel better.
Drinking water before, during and after
In hot weather, the worst thing you can do for your body is not to drink water. Exercise physiologist Jaime Roberts explains that the body cools down when you sweat. When you’re dehydrated, you don’t produce sweat. That’s how health problems can occur.
About 30 minutes before exercising, drink a glass of water. You want to start hydrated. Throughout your workout, drink water every 15 to 20 minutes. Stay hydrated afterwards; the body will continue to sweat as long as it is warm.
Allow your body to adapt to the weather.
When your body is not acclimatized to hot weather, you dehydrate much faster. Don’t dive into long and exhausting exercises during the first week of hot weather.
Scientists say that the body adapts to the weather by about 50% after the first week. The second week acclimatizes the body to about 80%. When working in the heat, start slowly. Let your body adapt and your workouts will change with it.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty
Many people wait to drink water until they are thirsty. But that can be a mistake, says exercise physiologist Jessica Matthews. When you’re thirsty, you’re already 1% to 2% dehydrated. Even when you swim, you can become dehydrated.
How do you know when you need water? Try the urine test. The darker your urine is, the more water you need, urologists say. If you have enough water in your system, your urine will looks like pale lemonade.
Skip the pre-workout snack (or eat a better one)
Usually, a high-protein snack is the perfect pre-workout fuel. In hot weather, skip it. Dr. Luigi Gratton says that protein-rich foods raise your body temperature. Starchy and fatty foods also make you feel hot.
If you need a snack, eat moisturizing foods.
There are some fruits that will keep your body cool, such as; berries, apples, cucumbers and avocado. Drink water and don’t eat too much or you will feel lazy. To avoid cramps, eat 45 minutes before your workout.
How sunscreen lowers body temperature
Always wear sunscreen on hot days, even if the weather is cloudy. Not only does it protect your skin from UV rays, but it also refreshes your body. When UV rays hit your skin, they raise nitric oxide in the blood, making you feel warmer.
Researchers at Penn State University have found that sunscreen prevents nitric oxide from rising.
Dress for the weather
When training in the heat, your workout clothes make all the difference. Of course, most people won’t wear a jacket in hot weather. But you should also avoid dark clothing,” says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dark fabric absorbs sunlight.
Light-colored clothing reflects sunlight and cools the body. When shopping, look for light, absorbent clothing. Always opt for fabrics tha will help you cool down, fabrics that breathe will allow your sweat to evaporate.
Don’t forget the humidity; it’s worse than the heat.
Moisture can be more dangerous than dry heat. Because the air is humid, sweat does not evaporate. The body cannot cool down, no matter how much it sweats.
Unfortunately, some people don’t take humidity into account before exercising. You will need to drink lots of water and shorten your routine in wet weather.
Choose the coolest time and place
Avoid exercising when the sun is at its height during hot seasons. According to the American Heart Association, the hottest hours are between noon and 3:00 pm. Stick to morning and evening workouts.
Also, choose a cool location. A windy or shady area can lower the temperature by as much as ten degrees. Choose a park, beach or trail with at least a few shaded areas for breaks.
Slow your pace
Don’t try to set your new personal best record in hot weather, accept that you will be slower. Your body is always adapting to the weather; don’t push yourself too hard.
Shorten your routine to no more than 30 minutes. Take breaks. Listen to your body. If you are training with a friend who is used to the heat, be careful. Eberle recommends that you don’t try to follow them.
Know the signs of heat sickness
Recognize the heat sickness if you are exercising in hot water. You’ll want to take care of yourself before the condition worsens. The Seattle Children’s Hospital divides the illness into three different illnesses: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
If your muscles spasm or ache, take a break when this happens. Heat exhaustion involves nausea, dizziness, cold skin, headaches, and weak pulse. Heatstroke has it all with confusion and possibly unconsciousness.
If you feel sick or weak, take action.
It is not enough to recognize the heat sickness; you also need to take action if you experience any of these symptoms. Mayo Clinic emphasizes that you must give priority to cooling and rehydration.
First, find a cool place to rest. Sip water slowly; do not gorge yourself. If you are wearing tight clothing, a helmet or padding, remove it or loosen it. If you have trouble seeing or moving around, call the emergency line. You can never be too safe.
If you have a health problem, talk to your doctor.
Certain medications and medical conditions increase the risk of hot workouts. According to the American Heart Association, medications such as diuretics, beta-blockers and ace inhibitors can make your body more prone to heat.
People with high blood pressure should also be careful. Heat stroke can damage the heart, kidneys and liver, according to John Hopkins Medicine. If you think you need help, ask your doctor to exercise in hot weather. They can provide some advice or reassurance.
Beware of high altitudes
Jogging in the mountains may seem windy and cool, but not during the warm seasons. Exercise and sport science tests show that higher elevations have lower air pressure. This also means less oxygen. People who exercise in high places can tire twice as fast.
Add that to high heat – more sweat, more fatigue – and you have a recipe for disaster. If you’re used to high altitudes, go for it. But don’t cycle up a high hill if you haven’t adapted to it.
Practice with a friend
Exercising in hot weather is difficult, but you can make it easier by joining a friend. If one of you is struggling or developing heat sickness, the other can help. Also, exercising with friends can motivate you to work harder.
A study in the Journal of Social Sciences concluded that exercising together is always better. Friends who joined a weight loss program together had a 95% chance of completing it. There is no downside to exercising with friends.
Swimming doesn’t hydrate you
Try not to be surprised, you can still get dehydrated while swimming. In fact, it’s easier to get dehydrated while swimming because you don’t know how much you sweat. The body always sweats in water,” says physiotherapist G. John Mullen.
Scientific and sports research has shown that people sweat more in warm water. Whether you’re in the sun or in a hot tub, you need to drink water. Never think the pool or ocean will keep you hydrated.
Don’t expect to perform as well
People gain more muscle and exercise in cooler weather. Scientists at the University of Nebraska have discovered that heat changes cell physiology. The result? Training in hot weather doesn’t benefit your body as much as it does in cold weather.
Expect to feel a little slower or tired during a warm workout. The hotter it is, the more physically affected you will feel. Do not dive headfirst into a hard workout when the weather warms up.
Have a backup plan
Even if you are used to exercising outdoors, you don’t have to. You can gain more benefits from exercising at home or at a gym. Researcher Dustin Slivka says the body reacts to heat “as if no exercise had taken place.
As people adapt to the heat, they can burn more calories and build muscle outside. But if you haven’t acclimatized, you may not gain much from exercise. Have a back-up plan to train indoors if outdoor workouts don’t work.
Hats won’t make you sexier
A common myth says that 70% of your body heat escapes through your head. With this logic, wearing a hat increases your body temperature. But that’s not true, says Andrew Maynard, director of the Risk Science Center. The research concludes that hats do not significantly increase your body temperature. Don’t be afraid to wear a hat for more shade. In the worst case, you may sweat more around your forehead. But you will get less sun.