Tips for Working Out in the Summer Heat
Summer, summer, summertime,
Time to sit back and unwind.
-Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince
These song lyrics perfectly capture the essence of this time of year. Summer is a time where the world slows down a little. People are traveling and going on adventures, lazing by the pool with a cool drink, or having fun at the beach. Summer is also a time of intense heat, which can lead to dehydration and sunburn – especially if you’re exercising. In Florida, we routinely experience temperature highs in the triple digits, coupled with intense humidity. That’s hot! So how do you stay healthy while out getting that Vitamin D? Keep the following tips in mind:
Wear sunscreen, wear sunscreen, wear sunscreen! Have I pounded it into your head enough? Since you are spending more time outside, your skin is at risk, and it needs protection. Wearing sunscreen helps reduce the risk of skin cancer (think: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma). According to the National Cancer Institute, melanoma is one of the most common types of cancer occurring in the United States, with an estimated 76,380 new cases popping up in 2016. That’s scary stuff! Wearing sunscreen gives your skin a fighting chance against this deadly disease. Need another motivator? How about anti-aging benefits? In a 4-year study examining the effects of daily sunscreen use, Australian researchers found that those individuals who used sunscreen daily had no discernable aging over those individuals who did not. In other words, sunscreen keeps you pretty!
…water or a sports drink with electrolytes. Up to 60% of our bodies is made up of water, and that summer heat can drain it from us – fast. Staying hydrated not only keeps our internal organs cool, but is also vital for maintaining blood circulation, supplying nutrients, and removing waste (see footnote). And those electrolytes found in sports drinks can replace much-needed sodium that is lost when sweating in the summer sun. Not being diligent about hydration can put you at risk for heat stroke, low blood volume shock, kidney failure, and a number of other illnesses. Scary.
Be mindful of the time of day
Try to exercise in the morning or early evening, when it’s generally cooler and the sun isn’t out in full force. The sun is at its peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which means crazy high temperatures, putting you at risk for the aforementioned skin cancer and dehydration. If you need to, move it indoors to the air conditioning – ain’t no shame in that game!
Tallmadge, K. (2013, July 30). 13 tips for staying hydrated in the summer heat. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/38553-staying-hydrated-in-the-heat.html