When we imagine what an active person's life is like, what comes to mind is a lot of time spent outdoors running, biking, hiking, etc. If you live in a part of the world where things heat up significantly during the summer months, you might think that your active lifestyle will have to take a summer vacation. After all, who wants to risk heat stroke just to get some exercise? But by using some of these tips, you can stay active without constantly being drenched in sweat.
One of the best ways to "beat the heat" and get outdoors during the summer months is by timing your activity during the less sunny hours of the day, usually the hours around dawn and dusk. The temperature is going to rise significantly once the sun is overhead, so getting out before you leave for work in the morning or before bed at night gives you a better chance of avoiding the hottest parts of the day. You'll also be limiting UV exposure, which is always a win!
A majorly neglected aspect of summertime activity is hydration. Because you're sweating more in the heat, your water consumption will have to increase as well. You might not think you need water until you're thirsty, but at that point, your body is already at the point of dehydration. Remember to continue drinking even if you're not actively sweating, and consider adding hydration packets to your water once in a while to supplement your electrolytes. You might be surprised by how much more pleasant the summer is when you're properly hydrated.
A major issue with summertime activity is that most people aren't dressing appropriately. Your clothes aren't breathable enough and are trapping all the warm air close to your skin. You're wearing as little as possible and not protecting your skin from the sun. Both things can contribute to a higher chance of heat stroke and at the very least will make your summertime activities a lot less pleasant.
For exercise, you should be wearing light-colored, moisture-wicking, UV-protectant clothing. A hat should always be part of your outfit, especially if you're outdoors during the hottest parts of the day. If you're not planning to work up a sweat, breathable, natural materials like linen can help you stay cool on hot days.
Realistically, there might be some days during the summer that are just too hot to handle. If you'd rather not use that day to stay in and watch TV, it's time to get creative with your options for activity. A gym membership or rec center makes it easy to stay in an air-conditioned building while you get your workout in. If you don't have one available, however, doing laps at your local mall is an option. Shady, tree-lined trails and streets might be a few degrees cooler and could be walkable in the earlier and later parts of the day.
Your usual pace of activity, while totally fine during the cooler months, is probably not sustainable once the temperatures rise. Don't be afraid to dial it back during the summer so that you can sustain your activity without getting injured or burnt out. For example, if you're used to running at a certain pace for a certain distance, it might be better to run for time and let your pace set itself. Any time you exercise, pay attention to how your body is feeling. If you're ever feeling light-headed, nauseous, dizzy, or overly thirsty, find a shady spot and recover with some water.
Learn the symptoms of heat stroke so that you can stop before things get serious. Now is not the time to push yourself! While exercising in the heat can be unpleasant, it's not impossible to continue enjoying your active lifestyle. Being mindful of how and when you exercise will help you stay active year-round.
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