How to Do Your Fave Workouts This Summer Without Overheating

Dedicated woman lifting large tractor tire outdoorsWhen summer comes, we can’t wait to get outside and soak up the sun. But a few weeks into summer, we’ve retreated to the comfort of the AC. Maybe it’s global warming … or maybe I’m just becoming less tolerant as I age.

Summer always sounds like a good idea until it’s here then I feel like the sun I’ve spent so many months dreaming about is here for only one purpose — to get in the way of my workouts.

And it doesn’t stop there. Depending on where you live, the thermometer only tells part of the story. Where I live, the humidity makes it feel like a swamp outside … a really hot, disgusting swamp.

I’ll admit that the hot and humid weather makes it easy for me to rationalize not working out on occasion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to give up our beloved workouts due to a lack of AC — we just have to be smart about it. Here’s how.

How to Keep From Overheating No Matter Your Workout

CrossFit: Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you get a break from the oppressive heat and humidity in your CrossFit box. Liz Vassaux, Owner/Coach at CrossFit Become in Gaithersburg, MD, says “The box can feel hotter if the air is heavy.” Many of us have experienced a moment during a workout where we’ve felt a little queasy. “Normally, that moment passes but in extreme heat and humidity it will occur sooner,” says Vassaux. “If that happens, stop what you’re doing and be present. Breathe deep into your belly and catch your breath. Fast and shallow breathing can cause you to feel more lightheaded and could even trigger asthma.”

Vassaux recommends that you set up your barbell near the fans where the air is less stagnant. She also suggests coming to the box with lots of water and some electrolytes (such as coconut water, electrolyte-infused water or Gatorade), listening to your body and checking in often.

Oh yeah, one more thing … “Slow down a little. This probably isn’t the day to PR your Fran time.”

Running: When the mercury rises, it’s a great chance to hit the trails for a shadier route where it’ll be cooler than hitting the pavement. In the summer, I never leave the house for a run without carrying water — even short runs. I also carry electrolyte tablets and extra energy gels. It’s better to have more fuel and hydration with you than you think you’ll need … just in case. This is especially important if you’re on the trails and/or away from civilization.

I schedule my Summer runs for the cooler hours of the day — early morning and late evening — as well and I always carry my phone with me.

Keep in mind that if the humidity levels are greater than 40 percent, the sweat on your skin doesn’t evaporate as quickly and your body begins to lose its ability to cool itself efficiently. This will cause your heart rate to rise. Wear light-weight moisture-wicking clothes to help your body out, expect the run to feel much harder and give yourself permission to slow down or walk every so often.

Outdoor Boot Camp: Do yourself a favor and head for the shade. Vassaux suggests looking for a spot near water sprinklers and keep a cooler with ice in your car. Be sure to keep hydrated and loaded up with electrolytes to limit muscle cramping which can lead to pulled muscles.

Scale back the intensity when it’s really bad out there. If you experience sudden fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headaches, tingly skin, muscle cramping, confusion, weak pulse, or dry skin (no more sweating), stop immediately and get hydrated and cool. And don’t forget the water-resistant sunscreen and your sunglasses.

No matter what you do outside this summer, stay hydrated and give yourself time to acclimate. Our bodies are amazing and if given time, we can adapt to higher heat and humidity but generally, it takes five to 10 exercise sessions of 60 minutes in duration to acclimate. Don’t expect it to happen overnight.

How do you deal with the heat and humidity during your summer workouts? —Alison

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3 Comments

  1. I agree! It’s no fun exercising outside in the hot humidity. The only thing good about working out in the sun, is sweating off the water weight. Those are great tips. For me, utilizing indoors such as a local gym would be a great addition to the list… or running indoors on a treadmill. It’s not as great a scenery but it’s a lot less heat! Great tips, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for sharing how to Keep From Overheating No Matter our Workout in summer. General speaking, it is too tired when running in summer because we must perspire .