With summer fast approaching and higher temperatures on the way, it can mean great things for the pool parties and beach days, but not so great things for your workout regimen. The heat can be a huge drawback for some when it comes to working out and if you’re not careful, heat-related health conditions like heat stroke become a real possibility. In this week’s Health Journal, we’re going to dive into how to safely workout in the summer and what you can do to encourage proper recovery after.
Tips for working out during summer:
As we all know, our health is a top priority year-round, but getting in that quality exercise can be more difficult during certain times of the year, based on where you live. More specifically, exercising outdoors in the summer can be dangerous with the negative effects of the heat and your exposure to it can be even deadly. Below we have listed a few tips and tricks to help you exercise safely this summer and stay cool in the process.
- Take a cold shower: This might sound a little counterproductive, but one of the biggest tips to staying cool this summer is to hop into a cold shower BEFORE your workout begins. Once your shower is finished, ditch the blow dryer and opt for a wet head to help you stay cool during the workout.
- Hydrate with the right fluids: As we well know, water is a person’s best friend on a hot day and helps keep us hydrated, but if you’re exercising in excess of 60 minutes, you might also want to consider having a sports drink as well. Sports drinks contain ingredients like potassium and electrolytes to help hydrate and replenish what the body has lost through sweat. These drinks also contain high levels of sodium at times, which is a key ingredient on a hot day as well. Previously these sports drinks were sometimes avoided for their tendency to contain high levels of sugar, but new zero sugar options are available in today’s market and make sports drinks a clear choice on a hot day.
- Wear light clothing: It’s best to avoid darker colors like black since they tend to hold in more heat and make it more difficult to stay cool. Bright colors are recommended since they do a good job at reflecting the sun while also making you more visible to traffic if you’re working out at night or running along the road. Cotton shirts are normally a light-weight and affordable option, but for those who want to splurge a bit more, sweat-wicking shirts and shorts are a great option as well.
- Sunscreen: These products protect our skin from the sun and are important year round, but especially in the summer. Getting a sun burn is not only bad for your skin but could lead to bigger problems later while also making exercising more difficult in the days ahead. A sun burn will leave your skin sore and aching so it’s best to take steps before it occurs. A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 is recommended and also one that is water proof to help ensure it doesn’t come off once you begin to sweat. Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and light clothing as mentioned above.
- Watch the clock: Generally the hottest part of the day is considered to be 10am-3pm, so if possible it might be best to avoid working out during this time period if at all possible. Many athletes prefer to work out early in the morning as it can help you feel energized throughout the day, while also allowing you to sleep better and get more rest at night.
- Water can help: Now we have discussed how drinking water is important but adding water based activities is also a great way to beat the heat. If you live in areas near bodies of water, try some activities like surfing, swimming or Stand-Up-Paddle-Boarding. These will not only bring a change of pace to your workouts, which can be refreshing, but will allow you to stay cool and maybe even find a new favorite exercise.
- Know your limits: This is probably the most important tip of all, know your limits. It’s important to listen to your body and understand when you start to get symptoms like nausea or dizziness, it’s time for a break. Taking time to rest when your body is at a potential breaking point can help prevent you from getting sick, injured or having to stop working out altogether. If you’re ever in doubt about what you’re feeling, give yourself a few minutes to recover and then you can get back to it.
Recovering from a summer workout:
Now that we’ve hit some tips for what to do while working out, it’s just as important to know what to do during the recovery process. Working out is great for the body and mind, but we also lose a lot of electrolytes and water in the process. Below we have listed a few ways to recover from a tough summer workout.
- Stay hydrated: It is recommended that you drink around 60-80 ounces of water on a regular day even when you’re not working out. To know how much water you need to replace after a workout, weigh yourself before and after and replace 16 ounces of water for each pound you have lost.
- Eat protein: Protein is important for the body after a workout and it’s recommended that you eat 20-30 grams of protein within thirty minutes of exercise. Foods like protein shakes, nuts and seeds or beef jerky are good options when searching for protein rich foods.
- Sleep: It’s important to get 8 hours of sleep per night, especially after a hard workout to let your body recover. The body produces growth hormones at night and when lying flat, which is how your body recovers.