5 Tips for Working Out in a Heat Wave

Working around the heat, staying hydrated are key

Summertime means heat waves, including the one that’s descended upon many parts of the U.S. this week. But just because you can fry an egg on the pavement, doesn’t mean you can't work out outside—just be smart about it. Here are five tips for exercising outside when the temperatures rise.

Drink more water
When the temperature alone is enough to make you sweat, extra water before, during and after a workout is important. Mild dehydration can cause some common, but annoying symptoms like headaches and irritability.

Schedule it during a cooler time of day
The hottest time of day is not high noon, although it may already be too hot to workout by then. It’s likely to stay hot until around 8 p.m., closer to sunset.  It’s better to workout early or late in the day when the temperatures are lower. Night owls, remember to bring reflectors or lights if you’re running or biking on the roads.

Don’t go for a personal best or new level of intensity
You’re more likely to go slow during hot, humid days because it’s harder on your body. Don’t try to top your best day when conditions will make it tougher. Instead focus on how you feel during the workout to prevent getting sick from the heat.

Dress appropriately
Banish the black workout pants until the heat breaks. Light-colored loose fitting clothing is a better option on hot days. Sun protection like a hat and sunscreen are also especially important as the temperatures rise.

Go with your gut
If you don’t feel well because of the heat, it’s okay to skip or scale down a workout. If you need an extra break, take one. If you decide you’d rather workout inside, go with it. Heat-related illnesses are serious and can even be fatal in extreme cases.