It’s summer, and you want to take advantage of the great outdoors and hot-weather exercise and recreational activities, but be careful. Dehydration is at an all-time high during this season, and so are the risks of burns which can lead to permanent sun damage and even skin cancer. This doesnt mean you have to avoid working out in the summer heat, but it does mean you need to take some precautions.
If you want to maximize this gorgeous weather and get healthier in the process, follow these top tips for summer workouts:
1. Avoid the outdoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is when the sun is the most direct and youre at the highest risk of burns. Instead, try to take advantage of the early sunrises or late sunsets and get in your run, hike, or team practices during these cooler times. However, any time youre outside, its important to slather on sunscreen every two hours.
2. Ditch the trendy beer and wine infused fun runs. In the past few years, theres been a trend of adding alcohol to fun runs. Its even included at some marathon aid stations! Drinking too much alcohol is risky when working out not only because its dehydrating, but also since it makes you less aware of dehydration signs. Stick to water or a beverage with electrolytes until the workout is over.
3. Consume more water. You need a minimum of sixty ounces of water per day, but those are on days when youre not sweating or at risk of dehydration. You can safely drink twice that amount on a daily basis, and should if youre sweating or panting. Adding in electrolytes helps to keep your body balanced and able to replenish itself faster.
4. Choose layers, not less clothes. Light layers designed for workouts in the heat will wick away sweat and help keep your skin protected from sun damage. It’s tempting to run bare-chested or in a sports bra, but that exposed skin rarely sees the sun. It’s at a much higher risk of burning and skin damage. Plus, light layers are also cooler than less clothes because of their sweat-wicking capability.
5. Always work out with a partner. This is sage advice year-round, but when sunstroke is a risk you need a workout buddy so you can keep an eye on each other. Sunstroke can sometimes come on quickly, especially if youre really pushing yourself and mistake the signs (lightheadedness, dizziness) for just a tough workout.
6. Protect your eyes. You might not need special sunglasses for cycling or running in winter months, but in the summer your eyes are also at risk of sun damage. However, typical sunglasses arent designed for speed or a snug fit. Its well worth the investment to choose sunglasses designed for your sport and with the ability to protect against all types of UV rays. This can also reduce sun-related headaches.
7. Take it a little slower. Some sports differentiate between winter speeds and summer speeds, but they often get it wrong. In the heat, your body needs a little more time to adjust and achieve peak performance. If you find yourself moving slower in the summer, thats a good sign. Youre taking care of yourself and minimizing the risk of dehydration.
8. Enjoy a protein-packed snack afterward. In the heat, the last thing that sounds delicious is a protein-heavy meal, but its crucial to help with muscle recovery. Opt for a chilled treat such as chilled smoked salmon and try to avoid excess salt in order to recover quicker.
Most importantly, safely consider all of the workout options you might not be able to enjoy in other seasons. From outdoor pools to kite surfing and golfing, summer is the season to shake up your workout routine. Grab some friends or a loved one and try out a new sport. Its the perfect way to keep your body guessing and make the most of these long summer days.