Regular physical activity is important, something that should be a part of people’s lifestyle and not just momentary. However, during the summer season, exercising can be tough as the rise in temperature tends to affect a person’s physiology and metabolism.
When you exercise during summer, it puts extra stress on your body because sweat doesn’t quickly evaporate from your skin, pushing your body temperature higher. Not to mention you run the risk of dehydration because of the loss of important minerals, especially when training outdoors.
So, here are some tips to help you exercise during the summer season.
8 Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat
1. Start slow
If your body is not used to working out in hot temperatures, then start low and progress slowly. There is no need to overdo it. Give yourself enough time to warm up before exercising and to cool down after.
You can achieve this by doing an easy walk or a gentle stretch. Then, you can speed up your pace in a few minutes without getting overly tired. Once our stamina improves, we can gradually increase the pace and amount of time we exercise. Shorter, but more frequent workout sessions provide aerobic benefits too.
Moreover, if you have a medical condition or an injury, consult your exercise therapist or doctor first to help get a fitness program that is customized for you and one that will gradually improve your range of motion, endurance, and strength.
2. Wear loose, light-colored clothing
Do you prefer exercising outside? If your answer is yes, then it’s important to wear loose, light-colored clothes. Shorts, shirts, shoes, socks, and leggings offer breathability. As much as possible, we also recommend you stick with fabrics that absorb moisture.
Dark colors absorb the heat, making you feel as if you are covered and wrapped in a warm blanket. Tight-fitting, heavyweight clothing will also heat you.
3. Avoid the hottest part of the day
The time of the day you exercise during the summer season is important. Unless you are training for an event that is scheduled in the daytime heat, avoid working out during the hottest part of the day - around 10 am to 3 pm.
The early morning workout schedule is generally the best time as it will help you stay energized in the morning and sleep better at night. Of course, you can choose to work out between 10 am to 3 pm, but it would be wise to take cover under shade, carry a spray bottle or fan for skin surface cooling, or jump in a pool.
4. Sunscreen is a must
Completing a summer workout with a sunburn makes it hard to move. So, don’t forget the sunscreen. Opt for a sunscreen with at least 50 SPF or one that is water-proof so that it will not come off easily once you start sweating.
5. Take it indoors
Sure, exercising in “natural environments” or outdoors has been linked to positive engagement and greater feelings of revitalization, but there is nothing wrong with taking your workout indoors during the summer season. Working out on a treadmill or participating in cycling classes has huge physical benefits as well as mental health benefits.
Exercising indoors or in a gym most likely has air conditioning to make the air comfortable and you don’t need to worry about heat. There’s also the availability of group classes to help teach you accountability.
You can even start building your home gym. Be creative as there is an array of affordable home gym equipment, including kettlebells, an ab wheel, a chest spring bar, vertical jump training equipment, a stability ball, and more!
Another option if you still prefer to exercise outdoors is for you is to take advantage of seasonal activities. Some people can even burn up to 500 calories or more per hour of swimming.
6. Keep an eye on the weather
Warm weather and exercise increase your core body temperature. Combine the two - such as running on a humid day - it becomes a huge physical undertaking and you are at risk of developing a heat-related illness.
That is why before you lace up your shoes, keep an eye on the weather. Take a look at the weather report and if the humidity or temperature is high, scale back your workout in the meantime. Workout indoors instead. Respect your body and protect yourself in the extreme summer heat.
7. Drink up, but not too much
As the weather heats up, make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can also enjoy water-rich foods, such as watermelon, crisp lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and grapefruit.
You’d be surprised how easy it is to lose a few pounds of water weight by sweating. If you are sweating heavily or working out for more than an hour, sports drinks can help you rehydrate more efficiently. Even then, we only recommend this if you are exercising for long durations and at high intensities.
Still, don’t drink too much. Overhydration can lead to hyponatremia or low blood sodium. Our general guideline is to drink water during and after physical activity. At other times of the day, don’t forget to drink when thirsty.
8. Listen to your body
If you feel shortness of breath, pain, nausea, or dizziness, take a break. You may be pushing your body too hard. You can even permit yourself to take a day or two off if necessary.
Listen to your body. If you are feeling any of the following, quickly find an air-conditioned comfort or sit down in the shade.
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nausea or vomiting
Always remember that it is the number of days you work out that matters the most and not the length of time in every exercise session. If you feel sick, stop immediately. If you suspect that others are suffering a heat stroke, apply ice packs under the groin and armpits and call 911 immediately.
Best and Safe Summer Exercises That Don’t Feel Like Work
Summer is the ideal season to try your hot yoga session even in your backyard. The equipment you need for this workout is even minimal, with the only needed being yoga blocks, yoga towels, a yoga mat, and the sun.
Once you find a location with abundant sunlight, lay out your mat and towels and start your private hot yoga session. The goal is to detox your body as you sweat as your muscles are engaged in a challenging workout.
If you don’t like to sweat, have joint or knee pain, or are looking for low-impact cardio, then you can opt for swimming. This is a full-body workout and is a great cardiovascular exercise too. Plus, it can be slowed down or sped up to meet your fitness level.
We recommend this for athletes looking for a new sport or those who are couch potatoes and need the motivation to move. Although you can’t quickly achieve a chiseled body from playing beach volleyball a few times a week, you can still expect to get stronger in your legs and have more definition in your upper back and arms.
Another benefit of this activity is that 30 minutes of recreational volleyball in the sand burns around 350 calories.
Jump rope is another excellent physical activity to add to your summer routine because it enhances hand-eye coordination, and concentration, and promotes overall weight loss. Jump rope moreover increases stamina and burns fat to create toned and firmer muscles.
While jump rope may appear a low-intensity workout, this workout challenges your entire body to stay focused and alert. And if a standard jumping rope does not provide you with the challenge that you need, you can add new rope routines to keep the workout exciting and new.
If you love high-intensity workouts, try this activity. This type of advanced workout usually combines strength training (such as in a HIIT workout) and quick bursts of cardio. You will work your glutes, core, back, arms, legs, and everything in between. Most summer boot camps meet three times a week to incorporate strength training.
Doing the Bootcamp outside on grass or uneven pavement with factors, like the wind, can make the movements more challenging and you may be burning more than 300 calories in a half-hour class.
Exercise Safely During Summer Season
A beautiful sunny day can be a great motivation to go outside and work out. But if you’re not careful, dehydration and heat exhaustion can derail you from your fitness goals. By following the tips above, you can safely exercise even on the hottest of summer days.
Have fun working out and stay safe this summer!
About the Author:
Nathan Lloyd is a personal fitness coach and trainer with a Master’s degree in Health and Exercise Science. He is passionate about helping his clients become the happiest and healthiest version of themselves.
When he's not coaching clients online or in person at ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, he writes about his favorite gym equipment at ExpertFitness.org.