Watch this by Justin Jensen / CC BY
Plenty of physical activity is important for your heart health, and summertime offers all kinds of opportunities for being active outdoors. But as temperatures rise and the sun beats down, it’s important to make sure you stay safe when exercising outside. These tips can help.
Choose cooler times of day.
Summer days are usually at their hottest between noon and 4:00 p.m., so it’s best to avoid exercising outdoors during these hours. Instead, try going for a jog earlier in the morning before you head to work, or take the kids on an after-dinner bike ride.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to take a drink of water: thirst indicates that you may already be on your way to dehydration. Staying well hydrated means consuming fluids regularly— before, during, and after your physical activity. Always be sure to take a water bottle with you or to plan water stops when exercising outdoors, even if you’re only planning a short workout.
Wear appropriate clothing.
Dress for the weather in loose-fitting, lightweight clothes that are lighter in color to help reflect the sun. For more intense physical activity, like running or cycling, moisture-wicking fabrics can also help keep you cool. And of course, don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
Stock up on refreshing snacks.
Light pre- and post-workout nibbles can keep your energy up while also helping you stay cool. Try snacking on some chilled or frozen fruit, cold fruit smoothies, homemade juice popsicles, or chilled, raw water-rich vegetables like cucumber.
Find cooler alternatives.
If it’s simply too hot to exercise outdoors, don’t let that stop you from being active. Head to your local gym or community recreation center, or jump in a nearby pool. You can even try walking laps around your neighborhood shopping mall.