How to Exercise in the Heat

How to Exercise in the Heat

Exercising regularly keeps your body fit and healthy. While this is true, Exercise during summer may wear you down physically. Therefore, it is important to know how exercising in a hot temperature can affect your body and what precautions need to be taken while doing this.

The body goes through several processes to keep us cool while exercising. Being warm-blooded, the body generates its own heat and also absorbs heat from the atmosphere. Needless to say, the summer season exposes us to a lot of natural heat. Thus, the outside atmosphere along with the heat generated by the body increases the core body temperature while exercising. While this happens, the heart plays a major role in pumping blood to the exercising muscles. It also pushes blood to the surface of the skin to cool it down. In addition to this extra stress to the heart, a single degree of rise in body's temperature makes the heart beat faster by 10 beats per minute. Therefore, it is quite evident that the heart has to work harder while exercising, especially when the outside temperature is hot.

That being said, taking certain precautions while exercising will help avoid overtaxing the heart. Here are 10 ways to exercise despite the summer heat: 

  1. Know your body condition. If you are prone to sunstroke or heat exhaustion, consult with your doctor beforehand and follow his recommendations.
  2. Choose the right outfit. Loose-fitting cotton shirts and shorts are ideal for exercise during summer. They help with evaporation of sweat, which cools down the body.
  3. Exercise when the outside temperature is cooler. The ideal time for this would be early mornings and late evenings when the temperature is relatively cooler than midday.
  4. Warm-up and cool-down periods. Start your exercise with a warm-up and finish it with a cool-down period. Warming up before exercising prepares your body for the workout. Cooling down after exercising helps your heart rate and breathing to return to normalcy.
  5. Start with a slow pace. If you are just beginning an exercise routine, a slow-paced exercise with frequent breaks will be ideal for you. This will help your body adapt to the new routine. You may increase the intensity after a few weeks.
  6. Monitor heart rate. Monitor your heart rate while exercising, and make sure it stays within the prescribed ranges. If it does not, slow down the pace of your workout.
  7. Keep hydrating yourself. Drinking about 12 ounces of water about 30 minutes prior to exercise is important. Drinking additional 10 ounces after every 30 minutes of exercise will keep you from getting dehydrated. If your workout is going to be vigorous and last longer than an hour, a sports drink with sodium and potassium will help combat the loss of electrolytes.
  8. Sunscreen use. Using adequate sunscreen while exercising outdoors will help avoid any skin reactions caused by direct heat.
  9. Go swimming. It is a great way of exercise and keeps your body much cooler.
  10. Opt for indoor workouts. If you are not comfortable exercising outdoors, appropriate indoor workouts would suffice. Enrolling in a gym would give you the possibilities of doing a complete workout, while staying indoors.

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