It’s summer, the weather’s beautiful, and you’re ready to get outside. Summer weather seems to invite physical activity. The long, sunny days are perfect for runners, bikers, and swimmers. But the summer heat can also be an obstacle. Difficult exercise in hot weather can be miserable at best, and dangerous at worst, especially if you live in a particularly hot and/or humid area. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of overheating:
Go early or late
When possible, pick a time of day when the sun will not be too bright and the weather will not be too hot. Go early in the morning, or else in the late afternoon or evening. Especially avoid the time of day between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM–this is the hottest time, when you are most likely to overheat or get a sunburn.
Loose, wicking clothes are the way to go. Wear something that allows airflow. If you can’t find something wicking, pick something porous that lets the wind through.. Wear a breathable hat to keep your face shaded, preferably one that also covers your ears. Your socks and shoes should also be breathable, to prevent blisters And wear sunscreen. Even if the day is cloudy or you have dark skin, extended sun exposure can be damaging to your skin.
Drink lots of water, not only during and after exercising, but also before. In fact, in particularly intense exercise, your body will only be able to take in so much water. Start hydrating at least an hour before you set out. If you are sweating a lot, be sure to replenish your electrolytes as well. You can achieve this by consuming energy drinks, eating sports gels, or even snacking on something salty, such as trail mix.
Location, location, location
If possible, limit your activity to somewhere shady, such as a forest. If there is a river or other body of water nearby, try to stay near it, as well, as the air will be cooler down by the water.
Listen to your body
Lastly, and most importantly, pay attention to what your body is telling you. Do you feel dizzy or nauseous? Do you have a headache? Are you thirsty? Can you feel a sunburn coming on? You can follow every outdoor safety rule there is and still get hurt if you’re not paying attention when you’re body starts sending you warning signs–and you can break every rule on this list as long as you pay close attention to what your body is capable of and what it is telling you.