Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Fitness Articles  ›  Seasonal & Holiday Tips

13 Ways to Cool Down Your Summer Workout

Look Hot and Stay Cool

-- By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.
You waited all year for summer to arrive, dreaming of all the activities you could do if only the weather was nice. But now that warm weather has arrived, the extreme heat and humidity can make it difficult to spend any time outdoors—let alone exercise. While exercising in the heat is generally safe for most people, taking a few extra precautions will help you stay cool and prevent problems associated with the heat.

Danger Signs to Watch For
Normally, your body cools off as sweat evaporates from your skin. But when heat and humidity rise, that sweat can't evaporate as quickly. The combination of hot weather, high body temperature and exercise can be dangerous and even deadly.

Heat exhaustion can occur when your body gets too hot, resulting in physical symptoms like weakness, muscle cramps, dehydration, dizziness, confusion, rapid heart rate and headache. Staying hydrated and getting out of the heat can help prevent and treat heat exhaustion. If left untreated, heat illness can worsen, causing symptoms like confusion, unconsciousness, vomiting, troubling breathing, and skin that feels hot and dry (a sign that the body isn't sweating). These are signs of heat stroke, which is deadly and requires immediate medical attention.

But you don't have to give up exercise just because it's hot outside. These 13 tips will help you beat the heat.

1. Get your doctor’s okay. If you are new to fitness or taking any medications, check with your health care professional before exercising in the heat. Newcomers to exercise will be more sensitive to the heat, and some medications can impair your body’s ability to regulate temperature.

2. Wear "wicking" fabrics. While cotton is comfortable, it doesn’t wick away moisture very well. Choose a loose-fitting polyester/cotton blend instead, or synthetic fibers designed especially for wicking during exercise.

3. Protect your skin. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 (or higher) to prevent sunburn—even on cloudy days. Use an oil-free formula that won’t interfere with your body’s ability to cool itself down and select a sweat-proof variety to prevent sunscreen from irritating your eyes. Clothing with tight weaves, sunglasses, and a lightweight hat with a brim can also help block the sun’s harmful rays.

4. Drink often. Hydrate your body before, during and after your workout by carrying cold water and drinking it often. Switch to a sports drink with electrolytes if you will be exercising for more than an hour.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page › Return to main fitness page »
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Related Content


About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great Tips especially for living in FL - 8/3/2013 7:48:23 AM
  • I think this applies better to ONE segment of the population than the other but I like to cut my hair shorter in the summer. It may NOT help a lot but even the sensation of coolness helps. - 7/24/2013 9:34:21 PM
  • Unable to read the article because the Pintrest banner was o or repositioned o or minimized - 7/23/2013 8:50:25 PM
  • I live in a climate similar to a high desert. It's hot here in the summer, but the humidity is low. In fact, the advice in this article about the humidity being lower in the morning or evening is completely wrong for where I live. Exercising in high heat and low humidity can be fairly comfortable as long as you're producing enough sweat to cool your body.

    Also, because this is a dry climate, cotton is wonderful. I always wear a cotton cycling cap under my helmet. I can dip it in any water (including non-potable ditch water, or not-very-tasty park water fountain water), put it back under my helmet, and my body cools quickly as the air flowing through my helmet dries the cap. It's wonderful!

    Like the Texans said, exercising in heat is possible in dry climate. Ease into it, and be very conscious of how you feel. Triple digits is no time to let your pride dictate how long you workout.

    And I know this is nitpicking, but applying sunscreen will not keep you cool. You should do it, but the only "coolness" benefit is that it sucks to be the sun if you already have a sunburn. - 7/23/2013 7:47:49 PM
  • I do not like summer. I miss summer in the more northern climate. I wish I were more of a morning person. - 7/5/2013 9:32:13 AM
  • That's why I go in the morning. I don't like anything over 85 degrees.When Iit get over that I am not walking. So I do early morning unless I have an appointment. If I can't go early in the morning to the gym I go. - 7/5/2013 8:35:38 AM
  • One of the things I will do when it is uncomfortably hot before a walk or run is to soak my shirt.

    it creates a cool sensation and gives me the time to be comfortable as I get that workout in. - 6/14/2012 8:02:09 AM
  • I live in asia and it`s not just the heat but the humidity. It is in the 100s but I get up at 6 or 7am to take a run while it is still cool. The earlier the better and I actually enjoy the empty stillness on the streets at that time. I also take a small bottle of water to sip and I drink more water when I get in. Also I see many people running at midnight, I have been meaning to try. - 7/21/2011 11:10:48 PM
  • EVELYNW11
    I live in Rose Hill Ks. I walk at 5:30 am .It is still in the 80"s but I carry 2 wet wash cloth's and they seem to help .although I walk at the football stadium track there is water fountains that help too. - 7/21/2011 11:22:46 AM
  • Yes working out before 10 sometime in the South its already HOT!!!. So I wait until late evening about 7:30. If I go about 5 in the morning its ok. Thats when the Kids go to school, because I am up. Thats the last of August. - 7/21/2011 10:48:15 AM
  • Another Texan chiming in!!! The comment to workout before 10 am during the summer needs to be modified where I live (Houston area) because the heat (90 plus) and the humidity factor together for a heat index of 100 plus! I found that on long runs (5 or more miles) I cannot get by with gatorade alone. A couple of electrolyte capsules makes a huge difference. Thanks for a very timely article. - 6/29/2011 1:12:58 PM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    This is a very good article and everyone should read it. I suffered heat exhaustion when I was 15 and heat stroke when I was 22. I am now 45 and have just begun to get back the ability to sweat normally. I still don't tolerate heat well and anything over 90 degrees is to much. - 6/30/2010 2:58:25 PM
  • To bad I didn't see this article before my HIKE this AM. It was already in the 80's when I set out. Took plenty of water, and a snack, so that was not the problem. But the HEAT was! Woo , had NO idea....and NO shade really. Hiking alot UP hill....stopped to take my heart rate often. RESTED to try to get it down more. Going up was the worst. Coming down not to bad. But it was just too hot even for one who IS acclimated! Probably won't do that during this time of year again. HR right now is 72, BP 116/73. Not too shabby!
    GREAT Article! - 6/27/2009 5:49:57 PM
  • GIANT-STEPS
    Being a Texas cyclist I often train when it is well above 90F. It is true that you need to get used to it though. I grew up in Michigan and there my winter track coach told us not to run if it was below 20F. When I mentioned this in a comment all sorts of people from colder climates told me the same thing, they get used to it because ti is the climate they have to work with.

    My hottest ride was a year when i rode Hotter 'n Hell 100 that it was 107F. - 4/23/2009 4:28:32 PM
  • It would be a good idea to explain the issue of electrolyte imbalance more thoroughly. When you are drinking just water (as I normally do) & exercising in heat, as you lose salt through sweat your blood pressure can drop rather quickly. The simplest thing to do when you notice tingling in the fingertips &/or dizziness/faintne
    ss is to stop & eat something salty. It's amazing how quickly that works! But the problem can be prevented by carrying Gatorade, downing an electrolyte capsule, or putting an electrolyte tablet in the water you take on your run. - 10/29/2008 11:59:03 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: Wrestling  |  Dancing: Disco, Ballroom, Square  |  Dancing: Fast, ballet, twist