Fitness & Nutrition

Keeping the Cardio Cool

June 13, 2022

Love going for that jog in the summer sunshine? What about playing basketball with friends on your lunch break? Or cycling along the trails? Summer is finally here and with it comes the chance to get outside in the fresh air for some physical exercise. But what about the heat? If you enjoy exercising outside during the summer months, you know how important it is to stay cool.

Time your workout

When the temps drop in the spring, fall and winter, we aim to bundle up against the cold and stick to exercising near the middle of the day when we feel the tiniest bit of heat. Now that the heat is in ample supply, our exercise routines need to change. Morning or evening are the best times to get physical outdoors during the summer, as the sun is at its lowest point, causing temps to be a bit cooler than at midday. You can also aim to exercise in the shade if at all possible. And don’t those stretches before and after your run feel better when you aren’t in direct sunlight?

Choose wisely

If you can’t exercise during the cooler hours of the day, then change up your activity level. Going for a hard run may be okay at 7 a.m. when the sun isn’t at its hottest, but if the only time you can get out of the house is midday, swap the sweat fest for a fast-paced walk instead. Swimming is another activity swap for a hard run in summer weather. It’s easier on your joints and helps work your entire body, too!

Get some new gear

No matter what time of day you work out or what activity you choose, getting the right clothing is important. Thin, breathable materials are best. For sun protection without any effort, look for clothing that has SPF built right in. A hat or visor can also help cut down on the sun’s glare, which can be dangerous, especially for those with sensitive eyes.

Hydrate (duh!)

Obviously we were going to add in hydration here, right? It is a no-brainer in summer. The problem is many people forget how much water they need to drink during a sweaty workout. Furthermore, if you sweat profusely for a while, you may need to add electrolytes back into your body. Begin drinking water about 15 minutes prior to exercising. Then, aim for eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exertion. If you’re exercising on a hot day for more than 30 minutes, a sports drink or water with added electrolytes is your best bet to stay hydrated. Remember that you should never wait until your body displays signs of dehydration to start drinking water.

Opting for a gentler workout routine is a smart way to ensure your health and safety during the hottest months of the year. Workouts that involve water, such as swimming and paddle boarding, are great options. No matter what you do, though, listen to your body and stop exercising at the first signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration. Physical fitness is important, but nothing is more vital than your overall health and well-being. Stay cool this summer and enjoy those outdoor activities!