Workout Safely in the HeatPosted: July 15, 2013 in Getting Active by Craig Primack MD FACP
Another Arizona summer is in full swing, but you don’t have to let high temperatures ruin your weight loss plans. Though working out unprepared in the heat can be dangerous, hot weather can actually make your workouts more effective, and taking a few precautions can help you safely enjoy your favorite workouts all summer long.
Using Heat to Your Advantage
Did you know that heat can actually help your workout? You may have heard of hot yoga classes where participants sweat buckets as they stretch through different poses. The heat is believed to boost your blood circulation and increase flexibility, and this can be true with more than just yoga. However, you’ll still need to be careful to stay hydrated and let your body adjust to higher temperatures.
Like all other things in life, heat takes time to adjust to. By taking the right precautions and allowing your body to acclimate to the increasing temperature you can enjoy outdoor workouts straight through summer.
Here are a few tips that will help you adjust to the heat this summer:
- Allow your body to acclimate slowly to the heat. Don’t try to spend an hour running in the high-noon sun immediately. Instead, head out in the morning or evening when the heat is less intense. Start with short periods of exercise in the heat and move your way up to a full-length workout.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t just fill up your water bottle when you’re heading out to exercise. Plan your workout ahead of time and drink plenty of water during the two hours leading up to your workout. This way, you’ll be fully hydrated by the time you’re out there in the sun.
- Wear sun protection. Sunscreen isn’t the only type of sun protection out there. Use hats and breathable clothing to your advantage during the summer to keep your body covered without locking sweat and heat in.
For most people, the process of adjusting to the heat takes about 14 days. That means that in the space of two weeks you can build up a decent tolerance to working out in the sun this summer. Keep up these healthy habits all summer long to stay on track with your weight loss goals.