Tips for Exercising in the Heat

Things to Keep in Mind When Exercising in the Heat

August is here already, and with that comes long, hot days with plenty of sunshine. Many Edmontonians are already taking advantage of the warm weather this summer by taking their exercise routines outside or by looking for new ways to get active outdoors. Even though it feels great to be outside in the heat after our long winters, our friends from Innovation Physical Therapy have given us a few things to consider when exercising outdoors in the summertime.

Time of Day

  • Avoid exercising in the heat of the day. Exercising in the heat puts extra stress on the body to keep itself cool. In an attempt to cool down, your body will circulate more blood through your skin, which leaves less blood for your muscles and forces your heart to work harder. This can eventually lead to conditions such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Levels of UV radiation increase as the sun gets higher in the sky (late morning to early evening), increasing potency of harmful UV rays
  • Early morning is often best

Stay Hydrated

  • Be sure to drink water before, during and after you workout
  • You’ll be sweating more in the heat so it is very important that you increase your water intake to balance the amount of liquids you are losing
  • Drink frequently, don’t wait until you feel thirsty!
  • Restore your electrolytes, especially after around 60 minutes of exercise when your body starts to become depleted of vital electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
  • Consider a sports drink or a sports gel to help you replenish
  • Some signs of dehydration include: dry/sticky mouth, fatigue, thirst, weakness, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness or light headedness, rapid heartbeat, and muscle cramping

Start Slow/Pace Yourself

  • Start slow at first, let your body adjust to the change in temperature
  • You may have to decrease your speed/time that you are exercising as your body responds differently to exercising in the heat compared to a cooler environment
  • Take frequent breaks if necessary
  • Dress appropriately
  • Wear light-coloured and lightweight clothing
  • Consider UV protection clothing for extra protection against the sun’s harmful rays
  • The lighter color will help reflect the heat
  • Looser clothing will allow your skin to breath and the air to circulate over your skin
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses

Listen to Your Body

  • Stop and seek shade if you feel light headed, dizzy or nauseous
  • If you are experiencing any of the signs of dehydration mentioned above, be sure to rest in the shade and drink water immediately

Find Shade When You Can

  • Try to find shaded, coolareas as much as possible to give yourself a break from the sun
  • Plan your route before hand

Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen

  • Make sure it is water-resistant/sport

Eat Snacks

  • Keep your body fuelled
  • Choose foods with higher water content (for example fruits, vegetables) and avoid dry snacks

Check the Forecast

  • If there is a heat advisory, keep your exercise indoors

If you have any questions or concerns about being safe and staying injury-free with your workouts this summer, call to book an assessment at one of Innovation Physical Therapy's 3 locations today!