As we continue enduring the hottest months of the year, many people are struggling to find ways of safely exercising in the heat. The gyms have closed again, making it difficult to get motivated. However, staying active is an important part of staying healthy, balancing your weight, and keeping your immune system strong. Just because it’s hot outside, doesn’t mean you can’t get in a good workout—you just have to make sure to take the proper precautions.
Exercise puts stress on your body and raises your core body temperature. Add in extreme heat and the stress and your body’s temperature skyrockets. While being active when it’s hot out isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is a potentially dangerous activity and you need to make sure to listen to your body for any signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If you notice any of the following signs, stop exercising immediately and try to get out of the heat. You’ll need to lower your core body temperature to avoid any problems and make sure you’re adequately hydrated. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion/heat stroke include:
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive sweating
- Low blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Visual problems
- Dry, hot skin with no sweat
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms and cannot cool your body quickly, you will require medical assistance. To make sure you stay safe, try to stay cool and always watch out for any signs that you might be overheating. If you do have heatstroke, you need to seek immediate medical attention to get the proper care and avoid complications.
To help you avoid having heatstroke or over exhausting yourself when working out in the heat, make sure that you take the following tips into consideration:
- Know Your Limits – don’t try to overexert yourself. Know what you can and can’t do and take things slowly. There’s no shame in taking your time—especially in the heat.
- Stay Hydrated – hydration is essential to safely exercising in the heat. Always drink enough water before, during, and after your workout.
- Acclimate Yourself – it takes time for your body to get used to extreme temperature changes. If you’ve been inside for a while, allow your body to get acclimated before jumping into high intensity training.
- Watch the Temperature – if there’s a day that’s going to be particularly hot, consider skipping the high intensity workout and instead go for a low intensity walk. Keep an eye on the temperature and plan your workouts accordingly.
- Avoid Midday Exercises – similarly, avoid exercising in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest. Direct sunlight mixed with high temperatures can cause problems to occur faster.
- Dress Appropriately – make sure that you wear clothing that’s breathable and wicks away sweat for the best cooling affect if you’re going to be exercising in the heat. Avoid dark colors that attract more heat from the sun.
- Wear Sunscreen – always, always put on sunscreen if you’re going to be working out outside. While it might seem gross when you’re covered in sweat, sunscreen is an important part of sun safety.
- Have a Plan – in case of an emergency, make sure you’re able to call someone and get help. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, having a plan is essential to being prepared.
- Understand Your Medical Risks – talk to your doctor about your medical history to better understand what your body can and cannot do in the heat. Know your risks and when to stop.
Getting exercise is important to living a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also important to understand when you’re putting yourself at risk. There are countless benefits of exercising regularly, but if you can’t handle the heat, then it might be safer to look online for some free, in-home exercises to do. When the weather cools off, it’ll be less risky, and you’ll be able to enjoy the change of scenery. If you’re interested in exercising in the heat safely, make sure that you talk to your doctor and discuss any concerns you might have.
Atlas Health Medical Group is here to help you with all of your weight loss needs. From personalized exercise programs that fit your goals and lifestyle to customized diet plans and everything in between, our naturopathic doctors are here to help you take the steps towards a slimmer you. For information on our weight loss programs, contact us here for a free, 15 minute consultation!