June 21st is fast approaching, and you know what that means – the first day of summer is almost here!
While some people love spending time soaking in the rays and trying new outdoors sports, others dread the mere thought of stepping foot in the heat (but even they can discover some exercise motivation). Either way, summer is a great time to get out and about and explore – but make sure you do so wisely in these hot temperatures! Here are 7 ways that you can beat the summer heat and make the most of it.
Avoid peak daylight hours
Stay away from strenuous exercise and limit your time outside when the sun’s rays are at their strongest and most dangerous – generally between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is highest in the sky.
If the thoughts of getting up early or going out later don’t seem too appealing to you when it comes to exercise, perhaps the incentive of catching the sunrise or sunset will lure you in. Plan an iced coffee outing with friends to reward yourself after your early-morning run, or meet up for late-night happy hour after your evening bike ride.
When your schedule won’t allow for you to exercise in the early hours of the morning or later at night, try to exercise in the shade. Look for a path that’s covered by trees, or one in the city where tall buildings help block out the direct sun beams. Many parks also have picnic shelters you could exercise under.
The added coolness of the shade will help keep your body temperature lower. Also try to avoid blacktop and other heat- and light-reflecting surfaces.
Slather on the SPF
Sunscreen helps to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, so why would you not want to wear it?
Apply some SPF 30 liberally and often to keep those UV rays at bay – even when you’re not going to be in direct sunlight. Remember, if you’re going to be in the water all day or sweating a ton in the heat, make sure you’re stocked up on waterproof and/or sweat-resistant sunscreen.
Chug the H2O
As with any time that you’re exercising, we recommend drinking a ton of water to replace what you’re sweating out. When working out in extreme heat, keep in mind that you should be drinking even more water to avoid dehydration.
Also consider sipping on a sports drink during or following your strenuous workout (think: greater than 45 minutes of exercise) to replenish your body’s electrolytes.
Dress for the occasion
Ditch those heavy, dark workout clothes in favor of ones that are more airy and lighter (both in color and in weight). Loose-fitting, moisture-wicking clothes will allow your body to breathe better and get rid of the sweat that is inevitably going to be making an appearance.
And don’t forget to invest in a hat (or helmet, depending on your sport) to protect your head.
Seek the A/C
Few things feel more refreshing in the summer than going from a hot environment than to one that’s nice and cool.
If the heat gets to be too much, find an indoor alternative for your typical exercise. If you belong to a gym or are thinking about starting a membership, the heat outdoors could be just the motivation you need to get you through those gym doors and into that air-conditioned fitness paradise.
Listen to your body
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very real threats when you’re exercising in hot, sunny temperatures, so don’t be afraid to take a break. Your safety should absolutely be your top priority, so if you’re feeling at all woozy or nauseous, stop what you’re doing immediately and seek a cool, shady place to recover.