5 Important Things to Remember Before Exercising in the Heat

ACE senior adviser for health and fitness education explains everything you need to know about exercising outside in the summer

Sure, you’ll gain a handful of health benefits by taking your workouts outside. But when you exercise outside during the summer (especially when it’s very hot and humid) it’s important to stay safe by taking a few extra precautions.

Below, Jessica Matthews, American Council on Exercise senior adviser for health and fitness education shares the top five things you need to remember when you’re working out in warmer temperatures.

1. Stay Properly Hydrated
“Properly hydrating before, during and after exercise is crucial, especially during the warm months of summer,” Matthews says. “Per the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), individuals should aim to consume between 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours prior to exercise, 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise and 16 to 24 ounces of water after exercise for every pound of body weight lost during the workout.”

2. Give Yourself Time to Acclimate
“If you’re accustom to exercising indoors, it’s important to note that it takes the body time to acclimate to working out outdoors in hot and humid temperatures,” Matthews explains. “On average it takes approximately 10 to 14 days for most healthy individuals to acclimate to engaging in exercise in a hot and/or humid environment, so allow yourself time to gradually adapt to the conditions.”

3. Keep in Mind the Time of Day
“Temperatures tend to be hottest between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., so if possible consider scheduling your outdoor workout for earlier in the morning or later in the evening when conditions are slightly cooler,” Matthews says.

4. Consider Your Apparel Options
“When choosing what clothing to workout in, consider the type of material,” explains Matthews. “While cotton tends to sop up and retain moisture, which can lead to chaffing, polysynthetic blends help to wick away moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable while exercising.”

5. Embrace the Process of Sweating
“The act of sweating is important when exercising on hot days, but what really is most critical in terms of keeping your body from overheating is the evaporation process,” says Matthews. “With that being said, embrace the natural process of sweating and resist the urge to constantly wipe away sweat from your skin throughout your workout, as doing so can actually lessen the amount of evaporative cooling that occurs, resulting in retained body heat and an increased risk of overheating and dehydration.”

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