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Beat the Heat: Staying Safe Outdoors

August 3, 2017

Summertime is upon us, and we all are taking advantage of the beautiful weather. With more people attempting to do cardio or HIIT training outside instead of in the gym as we do for the rest of the year, it’s important to be prepared for the high temperatures, humidity, and the location you choose to perform your training exercises.

When exercising outdoors or encouraging clients to get outside, make sure these safety rules are followed:

Stay Hydrated All The Time

In the blistering heat of summer, it’s important to stay hydrated all the time — even when you aren’t going to exercise. Staying hydrated helps not only your heart health but keeps electrolyte and sodium levels in your body stay regulated while you are sweating more than when exercising in an air-conditioned environment.

You can always improve these levels with electrolyte-enhanced waters or other supplements, such as branched-chain amino acids antioxidants – especially if you’re going to be outside in the heat for longer than 45-60 minutes.

Get The Right Nutrition

Some things to consume before exercising would be iced coffee in the morning, berries, and greens supplement. This has the added benefit of getting tons of fruits and vegetables in a single serving that will digest quickly for rapid replenishment. If you are a long-distance runner or cyclist, I would encourage further intra-workout nutrition to keep blood sugar regulated.

Extend Your Recovery Time

We have to realize that the exercises we do all the time will seem more difficult to perform simply because your body temperature is more elevated than you’re used to, causing your heart rate to increase more quickly and drop much slower.

This means it may take you longer to recover or require shorter bouts of exercise because it will seem more intense. Obviously, this does have its fair share of benefits as well — it will be more challenging, you lose additional water weight, and expend more energy.

Be Wise When Choosing Locations

When choosing where to exercise outdoors, weigh your option carefully based on your needs at the time and the ease of access to water and shade. In doing so, you’ll be keeping yourself safe. Some options might include:

Local schools: Going to local schools to utilize their stadium to climb stairs, run the track or use the distances on the football field for different exercises is always fun and is kid-friendly. It also has easy access to water and shade so you can get out of the heat sooner.

Forest Preserves: There are tons of paved and non-paved hiking trails. This time can be both physically beneficial and relaxing if you are going in the woods. You can often find parks with areas for children to play as well. Usually, by these parks, there are picnic tables and benches to do a variety of exercises on. My advice when training at a preserve or park:

  • Wear insect repellant
  • Let someone know where you are in case of an accident
  • Make sure you have cell service for safety and precautionary reasons
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Have plenty of water with you or be aware of where you can easily get water at the park
  • Watch out for snakes and other animals. Remember, this is their home; you are the guest.

Subdivisions: Stay close to home with plenty of access water by simply walking and running around the block. Bare patches of grass or yards are also good to incorporate body weight movements, air squats/lunges, or burpees.

If you are not accustomed to the heat, have significant health concerns, or are taking medication that could make you dizzy or disoriented, be mindful of your comfort level and thresholds of heat and humidity. There may be days where the heat is simply too much even if you are perfectly healthy.

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