Everything you need to work out safely this summer
Worried about dealing with heatwaves, high humidity, and powerful UV rays while continuing to exercise?
In order to work out safely during summer months, especially if you'll be outdoors and even wearing a face mask, it's important to keep cool, stay hydrated, and protect yourself from sun exposure.
Make the most of longer days: Prepare yourself with the gear you need to safely workout during the sunniest months of the year.
Here are our top tips for staying active safely as temperatures climb.
Don't forget sunscreen
Slather on the sunscreen! In fact, you should be applying sun protection all year round. The sun doesn't become any less menacing in the winter. At the height of the summer, though, the sun is at its most powerful. Apply sunscreen before you don your workout wear since rays can penetrate non-UV protected fabrics. Don't skimp, either. A thick layer is a must, especially during sunnier months. Don't forget your ears, nose, and back.
Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunscreen SPF 55: $9.99 from Amazon (was $10.99)
People with acne-prone and sensitive skin might feel tempted to skip sunscreen on their faces, but not all products are bound to clog pores or cause hives. Neutrogena's Clear Face sunscreen is formulated especially for sensitive skin types and is non-comedogenic and oil-free. It's a lightweight formula that goes on smooth without leaving behind a greasy film.
Buff CoolNet UV+ Print Buff: $23.95 from Backcountry
Wear this around your face for COVID-19 protection on high-traffic run or bike routes. The versatile tube-form fabric can be worn in a variety of ways. It's stretchy, soft, and features a UPF rating of 50+. It's also coated with an anti-odor substance to reduce post-sweat session smelliness.
Re-apply sunscreen for workouts longer than two hours
If you're heading out for a long workout, you'll need to re-apply sunscreen on the go. Yes, even if your favorite product is water- and sweatproof! If possible, find a hand washing station to clean your hands before touching your face -- especially if you've been with others or have touched anything along the way.
COOLA Suncare Travel Set: $39.99 from Nordstrom
You don't need to lug around a full-sized bottle of sunscreen to stay protected on a long ride or run. Pocket the mini SPF 30 spray, lotion, or balm from COOLA and use the recovery lotion once you're back home.
Check the air quality before heading out
Air quality can suffer during the summer months thanks to high humidity, airborne allergens (like pollen), and a higher incidence of forest fires. Air quality tends to decline as the day goes on, so try to get your workout in early. The earlier you head out, the cooler the temperature, too.
Humidity makes a huge difference
Your body will have a tough time cooling itself down in humid weather, so don't be shy to move workouts and keep it easy on high-humidity days. If you do decide to head out in muggy weather, wear sweat-wicking fabrics to help keep you cool.
Women's POC Essential MTB T-Shirt: $59.95 from Backcountry
This lightweight tee is perfect for humid workout days. The polyester fabric effortlessly wicks away moisture from the body, and there's a built-in pocket for you to stash a small SPF lip balm or other must-have accessories.
Men's Mavic Cosmic Ult SL Jersey: $119.95 from Backcountry
While cyclists do get the benefit of a breeze when riding, humid days can still pose a challenge. This high-tech cycling jersey features UV protection fabric and a close-body fit to help wick away sweat. There are multiple back pockets for stashing gear as well as grips to prevent the shirt from riding up and chafing in sweat-inducing weather.
Hydrating is vital
Follow your thirst signals and always take water with you, even if you're doing a short workout. Parents with kids should also ensure that children have easy access to water when playing outside in the heat.
Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated Flask: $36.99 from Amazon
This handheld hydration option is easy to carry for a variety of activities. It's also small enough to fit inside a pack. Each 18-oz flask features double-wall insulation so your water will stay cold for longer.
Creative Roots Plant-Powered Beverage: $9.99 from Amazon
Keep little ones hydrated with this fun, kid-friendly hydration solution from Creative Roots. Each bottle contains a mere one gram of sugar from a plant-based source. Flavors include lemonade, watermelon, peach mango, mixed berry, and orange pineapple.
Take it slower in the heat
Whatever workout you choose to do outside in the heat, know that the hot weather will slow you down. Even professional athletes suffer dips in performance in the scorching heat. Be willing to adjust and recalibrate your workout plans and lower your expectations. You likely won't be nailing time goals and blasting through workouts when it's 100 degrees outside. Listen to your body. Ignoring its distress signals will have worse consequences than if you take it easy or skip a day.
Avoid midday workouts
If possible, don't schedule outdoor workouts in the afternoon as it's the hottest part of the day. Temperatures tend to be cooler during morning and evening workouts. And unless there's a chance of thunderstorms, don't discount a run in rainy weather. You'll finish your run drenched in refreshing rainwater instead of sweat.
Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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