Expert Tips to Safely and Successfully Exercise in the Summer Heat

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Summer can make outdoor fitness, workouts, and exercise difficult, and the recent heat waves seen around the country are not making it any easier to get outside and safely get your steps.

The New York Times spoke to exercise scientists, who shared their expert tips on how to stay on top of your fitness when the temperatures are soaring.

Alter When and Where You Exercise

If the temps are rising in your area, plan to work out in the morning or evening and consider how much shade the area will provide. “I would always recommend the morning,” Dr. Oliver Gibson, a senior lecturer in exercise science at Brunel University London, tells the NYT. “In an urban area, it is likely that the concrete will have retained a high amount of residual heat that will radiate back.” He says areas unshaded will always be hotter than somewhere like a park or a path with trees.

Build Up Your Tolerance

If you live somewhere warm, the experts suggest trying to acclimate your body to the heat by doing shorter modified versions of your usual workout when it is hot outside, which can help the body cope with working out in the heat. They stress to wear sunscreen and make sure to bring plenty of water. If your heart rate seems to be racing higher than normal or if you do not feel right during this shorter workout, they note to slow down or cease the workout. A sign you are successfully acclimating to hotter temps is beginning to sweat earlier and more abundantly at the beginning of your workout.

Take a Hot Shower After

It may seem counterintuitive, but the experts say to dial up the hot water (for just 10 minutes or less) after a hot workout because it will continue to help your body adjust to functioning well in high temps.

Drink a Cold Beverage before Your Workout

Drink an ice-cold beverage 20 minutes before your workout. “[It] will help with hydration and provide a combination of perceptual and actual cooling,” Dr. Gibson says, noting to not drink the cold beverage right before your workout as it can upset your stomach if consumed too close to your exercise time.

Make Sure You Know Signs of Heat Illness and Heat Stroke

If you are working out and experience nausea, headache, dizziness, or cramping - slow down or stop working out and get yourself into the shade or indoors, as they could be signs of heat illness or heat stroke. The experts also suggest working out with a buddy during hot days because heat illness can impair judgment and lead to cognitive dysfunction. If someone is showing signs of heat illness, it is important to cool them off within the first 30 minutes (under a tree or indoors in a space with AC) and a cool cloth can be applied to the head to lower their body temperature, and the experts also stress to call for for help if someone has heat exhaustion.

More: Surprising Dehydration Signs beyond Feeling Thirsty

More: Easy Ways to Stay Cool and Beat the Summer Heat

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