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Tips For Exercising in Summer Heat and Humidity

Beat the Summer Heat and Still Work Out

There really is no delicate way to put it: exercising on hot and humid 80-degree days pretty much sucks. Running, biking, hiking, and even walking all feel considerably harder in the heat, which is often amplified by the moisture in the air. Here are some tips to help you get through your sticky Summer workouts.

  • Be flexible about when you work out: Become obsessed with checking the weather, and find out when temps are going to be the lowest that day. Sometimes it's early in the morning, and sometimes late in the evening, so you'll need to rearrange your schedule to fit in exercise during the coolest time of day. A plus about morning workouts is many of your neighbors might be watering their lawns, so you can run through their sprinklers to stay even cooler.
  • Drink water all day, not just before or after your workout: Staying hydrated will help prevent some of the symptoms you may experience from exercising in heat such as dizziness, stomach cramps, and headaches. During your run, sip four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take a cold shower: I know it seems a little odd to shower before a workout, but the cold water will cool you down. Leave your hair wet and pop it in a bun, so when you head outside water dripping down your face and neck will feel refreshing. If you have short hair, carry a water bottle with you and squeeze a little on top of your head whenever you need a little cooling boost.
  • Change up the type of workout to fit the temps: On super hot and humid days, choose cooler cardio activities like biking in the wind or swimming in cold water. Just remember to hydrate before you feel thirsty to beat the bonk.
  • Invest in some wicking gear: Lightweight, breathable, sweat-wicking clothes are a must. They pull moisture away from your skin, so you really do feel cooler. Wearing a hat to keep the hot sun off your head and face also helps. Or if you can get beyond the "lack of cool factor," try a visor to let your head breathe while keeping the sun off your face.
  • Exercise in cooler places: Hit the trails in shady woods or along a breezy beach shoreline. It can be 10 or more degrees cooler than the sunny streets in your neighborhood.
  • Shorten or split up your workouts: Summertime isn't the best time to push yourself, so if you can only handle 10 minutes at a time, do what you can, or exercise twice in one day.
  • Slow down your pace: If you're set on getting in a 30-minute workout, move with less intensity or do intervals to avoid overheating. Remember it's OK to take breaks too.
  • Head indoors: Now is a good time to take advantage of a monthly membership at an air-conditioned gym. Can't afford it? Burn calories by working out with a Class FitSugar video on your computer or iPhone, jumping rope, running up and down your stairs, or doing strength-training routines at home. If you need to get out, speed walk with the moms and grandmas in the mall.
  • Exercise in the rain: It's so exhilarating to feel a little sprinkle on your skin while out for a run or bike ride. If it's thundering and lightning, head home quick; you don't want to be out running in an electrical storm.
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