5 summer fitness tips to help you stay cool in the heat
Don't let the heat stop you from feeling the burn.
5 min read
When the weather’s nice, heading outside can liven up just about any activity. So why not take your regular workout outdoors this summer? Before you hit the pavement or the park, though, make sure you know what you’re doing. Exercising in the heat is a skill that, like your muscles, has to be trained. Check out the tips below to make sure you stay safe working out in the sun this season.
1. Stay hydrated
We know—this one sounds like a no-brainer. Even so, most people still don’t drink enough water while exercising, even if they think they do. Throwing yourself into a tough workout in the heat without drinking enough water can be dangerous. Extreme dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are just a few of the possible side effects you could encounter.
So, here are some hydration fitness tips and facts to keep in mind before your next workout:
50–60% of our bodies are made up of water.
When exercising, we lose about 2–3% of our water mass—especially on hot summer days.
Watch out for humidity. If you’re working out on a humid day, your sweat clings to your skin, since it’s harder for it to evaporate, ultimately increasing your body temperature.
So, you’ll need to drink at least 200–300ml of water every 10–20 minutes to replace the fluids you’re losing while exercising.
If you’re prone to sweating or are working out in the sun for more than an hour, consider drinking an electrolyte-loaded sports drink to replace your lost potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium.
Start drinking water early, way before you begin your workout. It’s better to keep your hydration levels at a constant throughout the day than to play catch-up after your body is already dehydrated.
If you're serious about staying hydrated, weigh yourself before and after you exercise. For every pound you lose during your workout, you’ll need to drink 600ml of water.
2. Adjust your expectations
When exercising in the heat, your body has to work overtime. Not only does it have to regulate the amount of oxygen and CO2 flooding your body while working out, but it also has to keep itself from overheating. This process is called thermoregulation. When activated, blood is drawn away from your muscles and sent to circulate around your skin. This increases your heart rate and how much you sweat, but keeps your body temperature cooler.
So, considering the extra stress your body is under when exercising in the sun, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve a personal best—so don’t try to! Adjusting your expectations is key to keeping yourself safe and healthy. Listening to your body means you’ll be able to adapt your workouts to match what it’s capable of under these conditions without risking heat stroke.
3. Move with the sun
Have you always wanted to make a habit of waking up early? Now’s the time to do it. Since the hottest part of the day is between 10am and 3pm, the smartest way to workout in summer is to beat the heat and start exercising in the morning.
Not only will this mean you can workout more effectively, it will also set you up for the day ahead. Getting those endorphins going early means you’re more likely to:
Make healthier food decisions throughout the day
Be more alert
Have higher energy levels
Enjoy a better mood
Be able to focus for longer
4. Wear the right gear
Wearing the right clothes is always important when working out—and it’s especially critical if you’re working out in the heat. Dark, heavy clothing absorbs heat, which will make your body temperature skyrocket while exercising.
Instead, it’s a good idea to invest in some lightweight, breathable, bright-colored sports clothing. In particular, look for clothes labeled “moisture-wicking.” These items are made from fabric that removes the sweat away from the surface of the skin while also drying quickly, preventing the fabric from becoming damp.
In addition to wearing the right clothing, it’s also vital to cover any exposed skin in water-resistant sunscreen (at least SPF 30). Remember to reapply often and to work out in the shade wherever possible.
5. Start swimming
Dipping yourself in a large body of water is the perfect solution to keeping cool on those scorching summer days—and also a great fitness tip. Not only does swimming keep your body temperature much cooler, letting you exercise for longer, but it comes with a host of other benefits:
It engages your entire body, giving you a comprehensive workout.
It’s incredibly low-impact meaning it’s good for your joints.
Since you’re using your entire body, you can burn lots of calories in the pool.
It’s great for your cardiovascular system, strengthening your heart and lungs.
Whatever you decide to do, just remember to listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy or ill, take a break and get back to it later. There’s no rush when it comes to working out in the heat—just do what feels right for you.
Your money at N26
Looking for a smarter way to start exercising without breaking the bank? N26 Perks are here to help. Select from a wide range of exciting offers from partner brands like Adidas and Freeletics, so you can manage your financial and physical health together.
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