Exercise Tips During Hot and Humid Weather

Written by Tri-Rehab staff.

Summer heat is here, but with some gyms and fitness centers still closed due to Covid-19 concerns, people must continue to utilize the outdoors to meet their exercise needs.  However, increasing temperatures and humidity can pose unique challenges to completing a safe and effective workout.  The warmer the temperature, the harder your body has to work to keep you cool.  This can result in elevated heart rate and more difficulty breathing.  As your body directs more blood flow toward the skin surface to help cool your body, there is less blood flow carrying oxygen to your muscles.  This results in a normally easy pace feeling more challenging. 

Here are a few tips to help make summer exercise more comfortable:

* Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.  Avoid cotton which tends to hold moisture.  Use anit-chaffing cream to prevent sores due to friction.

*Wear sunscreen, even if it’s early in the day or partially overcast.  Be sure to use a waterproof or sweat-proof sports type.

*Wear a hat or visor to protect your scalp and face from the sun.  Soak the hat or visor in cold water to help keep you cool.

*Add a longer, more gradual warm-up and cool-down session to your workout to help your body regulate and adjust.

*Exercise in the morning or evening.  Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day when the sun is directly overhead.

*Slow down – run for time and perceived effort rather than focusing on trying to maintain a certain distance or pace.

*Give trails a try!  Concrete and asphalt absorb heat and radiate it back up.  Trails tend to be shaded, and the uneven terrain will force you to slow down your pace a bit.

*Drink plenty of water and electrolytes.  Carry a bottle with you, plan your route along with accessible water sources, or consider stashing bottles ahead of time along your route.

*Use ice – a trick used by ultrarunners – stuff a bandana full of ice and tie it around the back of your neck, or fill your hat with ice.  The melting ice will help keep you cool.

While summer heat and humidity can make outdoor exercise seem less appealing, the good news is that your body will acclimate fairly quickly to the weather, and you will feel more efficient as the summer goes on.  Running with a partner or small group can also help keep you motivated and accountable.  Whatever you do to keep active this summer, remember to have fun and be safe!

Information compiled in part from www.active.com

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