Although we wait most of the year in anticipation for them, the dog days of summer can wreak havoc on workouts.
Between heat, humidity and poor air quality, suddenly even the simplest of activities can feel twice as difficult.
But don’t let zapped energy derail your exercise regimen; instead, try these tips for successfully tackling summer sweat sessions.
Mind the time. Early morning and late evening are generally the coolest stretches of the day, so rearrange your schedule to squeeze in a workout without getting beaten down by the midday sun.
Wear proper clothing. Look for lightweight and breathable clothing that wicks sweat, and opt for lighter colors, which help reflect heat better than darker ones.
Hydrate all day. Staying consistently hydrated (four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes) helps prevent heat-induced symptoms such as dizziness, stomach cramps and headaches.
Shield skin from the sun. Sunburn is a surefire way to make any workout miserable, so wear a hat and be sure to slather on sunscreen that’s SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before you head outside.
Allow time to acclimate. It can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days to adjust to a new climate, so as the mercury starts rising, exercise for shorter durations and at lower intensities.
Switch to summer-friendly workouts. Activities such as beach volleyball, kayaking, swimming and hiking torch calories without burning up your body and can be done in the water or the shade.
Rest early and often. You body works harder than usual in the heat, so don’t be afraid to take frequent water and walk breaks to allow it to regulate and recover.
Cool your core body temp. Take a cold shower before and after you work out, and douse your head with a squirt or two from your water bottle when you need to chill out mid-workout.
Take it indoors. When it’s just too hot to do anything outside, take advantage of your air-conditioned gym, pop in a workout video in the comfort of your basement or, when all else fails, do laps at the mall for some good people watching while getting your heart pumping.
Use common sense. Finally, know when to call it quits and stop immediately if you experience muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness and/or confusion, any of which can be cause for concern.