It’s getting hot in “herre.” And by herre, I mean outside.
I’m always excited for summer after a long Midwest winter. Flip-flops, shorts, the pool, the beach, sunlight until 9 p.m., shirtless men running around my neighborhood…the list goes on and on. And I, each year, forgo the gym, slather on my sunscreen and hit the great outdoors for weekly power walks and runs.
I recently started teaching an outdoor bootcamp as well, which has considerably added to my outdoor workout time. The bootcamp goes from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., and although it’s fairly early (especially on a Saturday morning, for this Fit Bottomed Girl revels in her weekend beauty rest), it still gets up to the mid-80s. And when you’re going from high-knees to push-ups to sprints, you get hot in a hurry.
I always tell my clients to take it easy, drink plenty of fluids and listen to their bodies. This is good advice, but according to this article, apparently many people under the ill effects of heat are in denial about how terrible they feel and are very good at convincing others they feel fine, too, when really they’re about to pass out.
Below are some tips from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association on how to stay safe—and not have to lie to your friends and family—while working out in the great outdoors.
7 Ways to Stay Cool in the Heat This Summer
1. Gradual is the name of the game. Gradually increase your workout’s intensity and duration in the heat. This prepares your body for more intense, longer duration exercise in warm conditions, and helps prevent injury and heat illness.
2. Take a break, man. Take breaks during your outdoor activity and assure adequate rest between exercise sessions. Rest breaks are an important defense against heat illness, and proper sleeping habits decrease your risk, too, so don’t skimp on the zzzs!
3. Drink up (water not beer). Begin outdoor activities only after you’re properly hydrated. Drink water or sports drinks (for any activity more than one hour long) throughout your sweat session.
4. Check your pee. A darker urine color is a quick indicator of dehydration. Your urine should look more like lemonade than apple juice. If it’s at the darker end of the rainbow, drink up.
5. Timing is key. Exercise during cooler portions of the day (early morning or late evening), if you can.
6. Know thy self. Do not participate in intense exercise if you show signs of an existing illness (such as nasty stuff such as fever, diarrhea or extreme fatigue). These can decrease your body’s tolerance for heat and increase your risk of a heat illness. Yuck! Back off on your exercise intensity or duration if you don’t feel so great (walk instead of run or cut the session short).
7. Too legit to quit. If you’re participating in an athletic event, make sure an athletic trainer or medical professional is on call or on the premises in case you or a teammate don’t get along well with the heat.
Be safe and smart out there this summer! —Jenn
Originally posted on June 23, 2008.