3 keys to exercising safely in the summer heat
Trips to the beach, family picnics, days at the park — summertime brings warm weather and all the sun and fun that come with it. Whether you’re a runner or a yogi, it’s also a lovely season for getting fit outdoors. Of course, no matter what you’re doing, it’s important to protect yourself from the heat so that you get the best of the nice weather, not the other way around. Here are a few easy tips and strategies to help you stay safe and healthy on those hot, sunny summer days.
Avoid peak sun hours
Try not to schedule outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the hottest and sunniest part of the day, so it’s often safer for you to be inside or at least in the shade during that window. For your fresh-air fix, consider an early morning run at the park or some alfresco meditation before dinner.
Protect your skin
To reduce the risk of sunburn while outside, always apply sunscreen — even in the shade — but also shield your skin with protective clothing and accessories, like:
- Head coverings like hats or scarves to safeguard your scalp, face, and neck
- Sunglasses with UV protection (polarized lenses only reflect glare)
- Breathable, light-colored clothes with built-in sun protection (usually labeled), preferably covering your arms and legs in full
Don’t push yourself too hard
Don’t exercise strenuously when it’s hot outside. Especially if you’re not used to working out in warmer weather, you should exercise at a slower pace or for a shorter amount of time than usual, and take more rest breaks. And as always, drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any activity to prevent dehydration.
On those days when it’s too hot for a run, try a lower-impact activity in its place, like:
- Power walking — For a similar workout without the intensity, plan a brisk walk, perhaps with a friend for company.
- Cycling — Exploring local bike trails is a great way to discover new places. Try to ride on cooler, shadier trails so you are more shielded from the sun. And take your time!
- Swimming — Plan a day with the family at the pool to stay cool and get everyone active. Remember to reapply sunscreen generously.
- Gardening — Building and caring for a plant bed is a great way to get some exercise. Consider a summer vegetable garden to add healthy foods to your diet, too.
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