With the arrival of warmer temperatures and higher humidity, it’s important to take extra steps to stay safe while exercising – both indoors and outdoors. When you exercise, your body temperature rises and your heart rate increases. Higher body temperature and heart rate coupled with hot weather makes hydration and rest even more important. Stay safe while exercising this summer with these five simple tips:
1. Hydrate before, during and after you exercise: Water helps to regulate your body temperature, so hydration before, during and after exercise is critical. Avoid drinks with caffeine, which act as diuretics, and can lead to dehydration. And don’t wait to take your first sips of water in the middle of your workout – by that point, it’s likely that you’ve already lost fluids! Water is the best option, but remember that many fruits and vegetables contain water, too! Enjoy a variety of oranges, blueberries, watermelon, cucumbers and other fruits and vegetables as a hydrating pre- or post-workout snack. Add fruit slices to your water for flavor. You can find delicious flavored water recipes here.
2. Take frequent rests: In hot weather, and even indoors, remember that you may need to take more rest breaks than usual. Resting keeps your heart rate and body temperature in check. Focus on your breathing, and sit down if you need to. Rest breaks are also a great opportunity to hydrate!
3. Wear the right clothing: The clothes you wear during your workout can play an important role in keeping your body temperature in check. You might layer your outfit, so that you have options depending on how you’re feeling. You can also wear light, loose-fitting clothing that “breathes.” If you’re taking your workout outside, be sure to wear a hat or visor and sunscreen, too!
4. Warm up and cool down: While your body may feel warm already at the start of your summer workouts, it’s still important to warm up your muscles and joints by starting at a low intensity. And at the end of your workout, it’s a good idea to cool down – not only with hydration and rest, but also with stretching and low-intensity movement to safely return your body temperature and heart rate to normal.
5. Listen to your body: Always listen to the signals your body is giving you. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, faint or simply “off,” know when it’s time to stop, sit down, hydrate and rest.