Summer’s wonderful for getting outdoors. But if that includes moving your workouts outdoors – or, more challenging, starting a workout regimen outdoors – you need to keep some things in mind to protect your body. Start with these five:
WHEN TO HYDRATE
In hot, humid temperatures, you’re going to sweat more, and the time to account for that isn’t after your run or midway through your bike ride, or ideally even that morning. “You should anticipate each of your workouts and start to hydrate days in advance, not just the day of,” said Dr. Tyler Browning, a primary care sports medicine provider with St. Elizabeth Sports Medicine.
HOW TO HYDRATE
What you drink is at least as important as when; avoid sugary sodas and other caffeinated drinks, which will be eliminated from the body more quickly. Also walk briskly through the sports drinks aisle, if you’re like most. “You only need sports drinks if you’re exercising for more than an hour,” Dr. Browning said. “We’ve seen people gain weight (from sugar-laden sports drinks). Really water is best for most people.”
HOW TO DRESS
Today’s lightweight, breathable fabrics do a good job of wicking away sweat and moisture, but that’s only part of the equation. Remember color as well. “Clothing can be deceiving as to how much fluid we’re losing,” Dr. Browning said. “Lighter colors are more reflective of the sun. The darker the color, the more it traps in heat.” Fit also is important; save the form-fitting Lululemon for the studio and give yourself room to move under the sun. “Constrictive clothing also traps the heat in,” Dr. Browning said.
WATCH THE FORECAST
If you can avoid the midday sun or later afternoon, when the temperatures are hotter do it. Mornings are better. If your schedule doesn’t permit morning workouts, perhaps wait until after 7 p.m. when temperatures cool a bit. When possible, try to align higher-intensity activities with cooler, less humid days.
Understand that you can’t go from zero to 50 in a day. If you haven’t been active before the summer months, acclimate to the temperature before you ramp up the activity. Walk a bit outside, or even sit outside, just to get used to the heat and work up a sweat. “Going from the couch to straight outside is too much for some people,” Dr. Browning said. “Start slow, and you can always build more activity into it as you go.” Recognize warning signs of too much exertion in the heat. Things like cramping can be precursors of still more serious issues, such as heat exhaustion. “If you don’t take the heat into account, it can put you down quicker than you think,” Dr. Browning said.
Our team of Sports Medicine Specialists provides comprehensive personalized sports medicine care to help you get back to the top of your game, quickly and safely. Call 859-212-5600 to schedule an appointment today.