As we move into the warmer summer months, it’s important to transition your workouts to accommodate rising temperatures. 

Be Prepared

Dress to exercise as if the temperature is 10 degrees hotter outside. So if you are running in 70 degree weather, dress to run as if it were 80 degrees to accommodate the increase in your body temperature while exercising. Feel free to wear layers that are easy to shed as you warm up. Consider wearing a hat to block the sun. Lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing is the best way to go. 

Don’t Forget the Sunblock

Even if you are wearing layers, apply sunblock before you put them on. Use an SPF of at least 30. As you shed layers, more of your skin is exposed to the sun. Even though the sun’s rays feel amazing, they can really do damage to your skin. You don’t want to be out of commission because of a bad sunburn. 

Don’t Forget to Hydrate

Hydrate before you go out. Either take water with you or know where water stops are along your workout route if you are exercising outside. It is recommended to consume half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Increase this by 10 ounces for every hour of exercise you do. It’s better to have too much water versus not enough water. Have water prepared for the end of your workout and a shady place to cool off. 

Don’t Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down

Be sure to warm up 3-8 minutes before and cool down for 3-8 minutes after exercise. This will keep you from shocking your body and allow your body to accommodate for the change in heat. 

Ease Into the Warmer Weather

You may need to cut down the time or intensity of your exercise routine when the temperatures start to heat up. Bring it down and work it back up so your body can accommodate. 

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion or Heatstroke
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Altered mental status
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Flush skin
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle cramps 

Heatstroke is diagnosed with a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher. If you feel you are having signs of heatstroke and you can’t provide relief in 15 minutes, this is an emergency. Call 911 or get to the emergency room. Heatstroke can result in brain, heart, kidney and muscle damage or even death. 

Know Your Limits 

When I lived in Las Vegas, my limit for exercising outdoors was 90 degrees. If it were above 90 degrees, I would take my exercise indoors. 

Prevention is the best medicine!

By Dr. Laurel Mines, PT, DPT