All across the country today temperatures are scorching hot and the humidity is high in many places. Here is Boston, we’re set to hit 90 humid degrees. As much as I love to exercise outside in the summer, this weather calls for caution at the very least, and getting indoors to workout at best. I made sure to get my outdoors run before 8AM but the sun already felt hot and the air wasn’t moving.
A few things to keep in mind if (like me) you stubbornly want to be outside when the sun is shining, there is no snow on the ground, and the temperature is above 50 degrees:
- Don’t be so stubborn that you insist on sticking to your lunch-time run. Be active outside in the early morning hours (before 9AM) or after the sun has dipped lower in the sky (at this time of year, that could mean 6PM or 7PM). Exercising during the hottest time of day doesn’t do your body any favors and you are less likely to feel good afterward.
- Water. Water. More water. Before, during, and after exercise. Skip the high sugar electrolyte replacement drinks unless you are going to be outside and sweating for a prolonged period of time. If you are, drink the electrolyte replacement drinks periodically during exercise but don’t skip the water. For most of us, simple water (and more of it than usual) is what our bodies need to keep everything in balance in the heat.
- Cool down. Don’t just stop exercising and drop to the ground in a sweaty heap. Walk for a few minutes after a run, ride slower on a flat service, do some active stretching. You body needs time to regulate your heart rate, pulmonary rate, circulation, etc.
- If you feel short of breath or the beginnings of a cramp, slow down or stop (walk if you had been running so you don’t cramp up). High heat conditions are not the time to “push through” breathing or cramping issues. Your body is telling you something (in the case of cramping, it could be dehydration). Listen. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. http://www.medicinenet.com/heat_exhaustion/article.htm
- Wear sunscreen and re-apply if you are going to be outside for more than 2 hours. Don’t believe the “sweat-proof” label. There is no reason to play Russian roulette with skin cancer.
If you can’t get outside during a cooler time of day, take your workout inside. Sweat like mad in an air-conditioned gym where you are less likely to overheat. You’ll feel better and your body will recover more quickly. And that means you’ll be able to workout tomorrow…outside, weather-permitting.