Heat and Exercise: Stay Cool During Hot Summer Months

Woman-stretching-before-outdoor-workoutTo stay fit, it’s important to commit to a routine, rain or shine. During hot and humid summer months, however, it becomes all too easy to stop working out. One strong reason not to: Experts say that inactivity for a period of four to six weeks may cause you to lose the key benefits of exercise.

Follow these tips to cool down and keep your fitness up during hot summer months:

1. Stay hydrated. Maintain your salt-and-water balance by drinking water before, during and after physical activity. Before workouts, avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea, which tend to dehydrate the body.

2. Opt for the Cooler Hours. Schedule your outdoor walks and workouts during times when it’s cooler outside. Early risers can venture out on a pre-sunrise run or bike ride while others may prefer to hit the road or trail after sunset.

3. Make a splash. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools can be a great for exercise. Swimming has also proved to help you keep cool, lower the heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and improve breathing and circulation.

4. Dress lightly. Some clothing brands sell custom workout attire to help keep you cool in hot weather. Look for T-shirts and shorts that are made of cotton and other natural fibers or of high-performance moisture wicking fabric, which indicates sweat-resistance and ventilation. Choose light-colored clothing such as white, light blue, pink and yellow since light colors reflect the light and dark colors absorb the heat.

5. Protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 45 may block about 98% of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, compared to SPF 15 sunscreen, which can block about 94% of UVB rays, experts say. Sunscreen with a higher SPF rating may block slightly more UVB rays, experts note, but none offer 100% protection. You also may want to consider sunscreen made for sports, since they’re often “sweat-proof.”

By following tips such as these, you can keep your cool and beat the heat during the dog days of summer.


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