6 Cool Tips For Fitness In The Heat

Advice from Pete Baldwin

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Fitness in Heat collage

Whether you're running, playing a game of tennis or going for a power walk, take care when the temperatures rise. If you exercise outdoors in hot weather, use these common-sense precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.

  1. Increase your fluid intake. By consuming hydrating liquids throughout the day, prior to, during the activity--every twenty minutes--and after exercising, you will prevent dehydration and regulate your body temperature. Dehydration is your worst enemy. If the weather is hotter or more humid than you’re acclimated to, drink more fluids, even if you aren't thirsty.

  2. Adjust the schedule of your exercise regimen. The prime schedule for exercise is before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m., especially if the temperature is rising and humidity is high.

  3. Wear appropriate clothing during your workout routine. What you wear makes a difference while exercising in the heat. Light-coloured, loose-fitting materials that reflect the sun are recommended. Wear sunscreen with a high SPF value to guard against sun exposure.

  4. Refuel your muscles with nutritious foods. It's just as important to monitor what you eat as to increase your fluid intake. Heat often decreases the appetite, but it's imperative to consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains.

  5. Know when to quit. Pay attention to the warning signs of your body. If you begin to feel the effects of heat exhaustion, immediately cease your exercising and find somewhere to cool down.

  6. Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there's a heat advisory, meaning high ozone and air pollution, you might want to take your workout indoors. Try swimming during the summer; it is an ideal exercise routine if you have difficulty in the heat.

What's your summer fitness regime?

For more information on Pete, take a look at his training video.

Photo credit: Pete Baldwin except centre: Cristian Moscoso.