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13 Ways to Cool Down Your Summer Workout

Look Hot and Stay Cool

-- By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer
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5. Perfect your timing. Sun, humidity and pollution levels are most intense during the day, so you're at greater risk for dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion during this time. To minimize the effects of the weather, work out in the early morning (before 10 a.m.) or late evening (after 7 p.m.).

6. Check air quality. Before you head outside, get current reports online or on your local radio station. Lower your exertion (intensity) level during physical activity on days with extreme heat and high smog. This dangerous weather warrants easy walking, relaxed cycling or light gardening instead of vigorous exercise.

7. Acclimate to the heat. Even the fittest people can have trouble exercising when it's hot and humid. Start by exercising in the heat for only a few minutes each day and gradually increase the amount of time you can tolerate outdoors.

8. Seek shade. Parks, trails and other tree-lined areas can help you stay cooler than direct sunlight.

9. Monitor your heart rate. If your intensity level rises above your target range, slow down or stop to avoid further stress.

10. Listen to your body. If you notice any symptoms of heat illness (see "Danger Signs to Watch For" above), stop your workout. It's not a good idea to "push yourself" in extreme heat. If you feel bad, use common sense and discontinue your workout.

11. Know when to stay inside. If temperatures climb above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, take your exercise in an air-conditioned environment, such as the gym or shopping mall.

12. Avoid extreme temperate changes. Don’t go from blistering outdoor heat to a shockingly cold air-conditioned building. Try to cool yourself down gradually before exposing your body to cooler temperatures.

13. Take a dip. Water exercise is a great alternative in hot weather. Water keeps your body cool and reduces how difficult you perceive your workout to be. Be sure to drink plenty of water even while swimming to ensure that you are properly hydrated.

Hot weather isn't the time to take risks. Even healthy people should take it easy in extremely high temperatures and everyone should understand how to exercise safely and effectively at the height of the season. Summer brings many fun and exhilarating opportunities to get outside, so enjoy yourself!

This article has been reviewed and approvied by Jen Mueller, Certified Personal Trainer and Nicole Nichols, Certified Fitness Instructor.
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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

  • JANETEMILY
    As someone who lived in south Florida for the first 50 years of my life, I agree that it's what you get used to! It is humid there almost every day, so it's less noticeable. Now that I live in North Carolina, where it's only humid in the summer, I feel a lot more miserable - so I usually wait until about 9 pm to walk with my dog. And as others have commented, I now love going out when it's cold--40's or colder are great! - 6/24/2014 3:50:52 AM
  • I've never heard of a polyester/cotton blend being more comfortable in hot weather than pure cotton. I've found the opposite to be the case. I used to work in extreme weather conditions, and I always wore a bandana. A few times I tried one made of poly/cotton instead of pure cotton and it felt like I had plastic wrapped around my head; cotton was always very comfortable though, and absorbed sweat so it didn't run down in my eyes. - 6/9/2014 9:16:22 AM
  • 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
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