It is seriously warming up in Texas now! I absolutely love it, but at the same time, somehow always forget some key necessities for surviving the heat. Yesterday was my first “hot” day of the year, taking the cardio outdoors.
(I’m a red-facer when I get hot)
80* really doesn’t sound bad at all, until you’re out there in full sun for 3+ miles! So as I’m reminding myself of how to use good sense when out in the heat, I thought I’d pass along some of the things I keep in mind (or try to).
So simple, yet so elusive. Hydrate before. Hydrate during. Hydrate after. Lots and lots after. The worst feeling is being pleased with yourself for your workout, then nursing a dehydration headache for the rest of the day! (trust me on this one) So do your body a favor- Hydrate!
Sunburns are bad for you. True story… I try to be especially conscious of needing sunscreen because I have melasma on my face. Exposure to sun makes it SO. MUCH. WORSE. But even if you’re not prone to sunburns or other skin discolorations, just think of the crazy tan lines you’ll inevitably be stuck with if you forget to lather up! Take care of your skin, peeps!
Time Of Day
The winter has one thing going for it- you can do outdoor workouts at pretty much any time of day because it probably won’t be too hot. If you still want to take your workouts outside in the spring and summer months, it’s really important to schedule your workouts during the cooler parts of the day. Early/mid morning or evening are going to be significantly cooler than, say 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Listen To Your Body
Be aware that you may have to shorten your distance or change your workout behaviors when it’s hotter out. Heat puts additional strain on your body. Be aware of over-heating, dehydration, and muscle fatigue. Don’t try to be a hero. Nobody is impressed by the person laid out flat on the side of the road.
Moisture wicking clothing and socks are VITAL to the cardio operation- especially when it’s hot! I used to be a clothing and footwear manager at an “outdoors” store, and let me tell you- cotton is the absolute WORST thing for you to wear when you’re going to be sweating. It absorbs moisture, keeping all that nonsense right up by your body. This can cause a horrible, awful, terrible thing called FRICTION.
Friction is not your friend. The after effects of friction are like a slow, deliberate torture. When buying socks, look for synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester. (Remember: no cotton. I realize that seems counter-intuitive, but just trust me on this one). Look for products that promote moisture wicking. This means that the fabric actually pulls the moisture away from your skin, preventing friction and rubbing. And when I say to avoid cotton, I mean with ANY piece of clothing. (I have more fun facts about cotton if you’re interested!)
I know I tend to be better about stretching when it’s cold out, because I know it takes longer for my muscles to warm up and I want to protect them. However, you can NOT let it go during the warm months! Your muscles may be warming up faster, but when you’re sweating out your electrolytes and pushing yourself, it’s VITALLY important to take care of those muscles (leg cramps, anyone…?) Be sure to give yourself a good stretch while you’re re-hydrating post-workout. It helps prevent cramping.
*Bonus Tip: Do not, under any circumstances, pick up a furred critter pre-cool down
I have learned this the hard way and feel it’s imperative I pass along my wisdom. When you come in from a sweaty workout, don’t pick up your fur-baby. That fur will stick to you as if it has been shellacked on to you. Don’t fall for the “love me” eyes or the pitiful protests. Just. Don’t. I promise they’ll forgive you.
QOTD: Do you still like to take it outside when the weather heats up, or do you move to indoor workouts? What tips do you have for working out in the heat?
*Disclaimer: I am not a certified trainer or health professional. All tips and tricks are from my own experiences. You should always consult a health professional before starting a new workout, and common sense should be used before working out in extreme conditions.