The summer months are a long-awaited time of year when the winter elements finally give way to outdoor enjoyment and warm-weather resolutions. The warm sun is enough to tempt many people out of their sedentary states to brave the pains of working out.
But while the ultimate goal is to feel the burn, working out doesn’t have to be all about agony – especially in the summer. Even as temperatures rise and the sun’s glare grows stronger, there are still a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the harsh heat during your summer workouts.
Hydrate yourself before, during and after a workout
Water is the alpha and the omega when it comes to preparing for a summer workout. Dehydration during exercise can lead to cramps and heat exhaustion in the best-case scenario, and in the worst case it could trigger a life-threatening heat stroke.
Drinking water during workouts is essential, but it’s not enough on its own. You need to consume large amounts of water throughout the day leading up to a workout to keep the body hydrated. The quality of water is as important as the quantity you drink. Make sure the water is filtered and purified so you’re not putting harmful chemicals in your body. As you exercise, having clean water on hand and consuming it in small amounts is essential.
There are several items that can help you achieve this: If you’re on the move and don’t want to carry a bottle, small packs and pouches that store water can be worn on your body while on the move, eliminating the challenge of making sure there’s water available along your exercise route.
Finally, continue to drink water and sports drinks after a workout is completed. Even though you’ve been taking in fluids while exercising, you’ve still experienced a loss of fluids that needs to be replaced.
The wrong meal before a workout can drop you like a hammer. Heavy or greasy food can weigh you down and make you feel sluggish during your exercise routine, and the combination of physical exertion and your rising body temperature could make your stomach queasy and cause you to get sick.
At the same time, working out on an empty stomach can cause you to fatigue faster. Stick to high-energy, low-fat foods before you work out – granola bars, fruit and light pastas are all good choices. These will let you reap more benefits from your workout while improving your performance.
Outfit yourself with the right gear
Proper gear can enhance the quality of your workouts while helping you evade a range of nuisances that can derail an otherwise effective day of exercise. The summer months demand light, breathable clothing that will repel sweat off your skin and keep you dry and cool. To combat the effects of the sun, you might want to invest in a pair of sunglasses and even a hat or visor, if you’re particularly sensitive to the sun. Sunscreen can also protect your skin from sunburn.
And, last but not least, proper workout shoes are essential – particularly if you’re walking, jogging or running. These shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles, and they should be lightweight and have good traction to keep you from slipping on different surfaces. Older shoes will lose their support and make you more susceptible to injury, so it’s important to keep an eye on their condition and change them before they get too worn down.
Stick to pedestrian-only routes
If your summer workout routine involves a running regimen, you can do yourself a good service by finding running trails and other paths that are free of motor vehicle traffic. Running in the streets and on sidewalks can be a hazard if vehicles aren’t paying attention to pedestrians. The less interaction you have with them, the safer you’ll be.
Don’t let the summer heat get the best of you. With a little foresight and planning, you can brace yourself for even the hottest days of the year and enjoy a satisfying, safe workout. By working out you’ll also become more aware of the products and strategies that can serve your specific needs and further improve your fitness experience.