It's summer, and you can't wait to get outside. The heat and sun can be fun when it comes to body surfing at the beach or hanging out in the shade sipping lemonade. But if you have something a bit more physical in mind, proceed with caution. back to top
Is it OK to exercise outside when it's hot?
If you exercise when it's extremely hot or humid outside, you may be putting yourself at risk for overheating. Overheating is a sick feeling you get when your body can't cool down fast enough. It is a sign that your body is working too hard to maintain a healthy temperature. And that means it's time to STOP exercising. In general, you want to avoid demanding exercise (like running or playing tennis) outside when it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or the relative humidity is above 60 percent. Because your fitness level also determines how at risk you are for overheating, it's best to listen to your body. If exercising makes you feel bad, don't do it. back to top
What are the risks of exercising when it's hot?
Heat and humidity can prevent your body from keeping cool. That means your body temperature may rise and your body may overheat.
Here are some signs of overheating to watch for:
Tips for exercising safely when it's hot
- Heat cramps
Signs: cramps and spasms in your legs, arms, and abdomen
Remedy: Stop exercising immediately. Go someplace cool, do a few gentle stretches, and drink lots of water.
- Heat exhaustion
Signs: fainting, dizziness, cold and clammy skin, weak pulse, and lots of sweating
Remedy: Stop exercising immediately. Go someplace cool, sit down and elevate your legs, and drink lots of water. You may want to cover yourself with a cold towel or ice packs. If you don't feel better after 30 minutes, see your health professional.
- Heat stroke
Signs: disorientation, confusion, warm and dry skin, lack of sweating, rapid pulse, and nausea or vomiting
Remedy: Heat stroke can be extremely dangerous. Your temperature goes so high your body shuts down. You must see your health professional immediately. If you can't get to a hospital or medical clinic right away, get out of the heat and sit down. Have someone sponge you off with cool water and sip water. Go see your health professional as soon as possible. If necessary, call 911 for emergency situations. back to top
Whether you're working out in a hot gym or hiking to an exposed mountain summit on a steamy day, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming overheated. Here are some tips to keep your body's air-conditioning system humming:
How much water is enough?
- Water, water , and more water! Carry a water bottle and take sips every few minutes so you won't get dehydrated. Don't wait until you feel thirsty.
- Wear loose, light-colored clothing made from fabric that wicks moisture away from your body. Avoid dark colors, which absorb the heat.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock whenever you exercise outside.
- Skip the caffeine, fruit juices, and soft drinks. When you exercise, water is your beverage of choice!
- Check your heart rate. every 20 to 30 minutes. If it's rising fast, slow your pace or stop exercising and cool down. back to top
Not sure you're getting enough water when you workout? Take the pee test! If you pee only a small amount and it's dark yellow and strong-smelling, you probably need to drink more water. Your urine should be plentiful and pale yellow, almost invisible. If you're drinking plenty of water and your urine is still scarce or dark, tell your health professional or an adult you trust. back to top