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Train Smart in Warm Weather

Listen to your body during outdoor workouts. (Photo by Alexa Miller)

Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern

Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean the hot days are over quite yet. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that almost 6,000 people per year go to the emergency room for heat-related illnesses that occur during sports or recreational activity. With young jocks heading back to practice (heat-related issues are among the leading causes or illnesses and deaths for young athletes) and weekend warriors possibly stepping up their routines before Labor Day, this is no time to ease up on your heat-smart habits. A recent study from Roehampton University in London found that athletes were able to exercise longer and harder in the heat with a cool towel wrapped around their neck. When their bodies finally felt exhausted, their core body temperature was much higher than it was by the time they were tired without the neck cooling trick. While some outdoor exercisers may appreciate and take heed of this tip, do so with caution, as the body is pretty good at detecting when its core temperature is getting dangerously high, and this trick may confuse your body into pushing its core temperature into unsafe territory. Here are some quick warm weather pointers from the CDC to also keep in mind:

  • Don't wait until you're thirsty to start sipping and keep water on-hand during your workout. Our experts recommend drinking 16 ounces a few hours before exercise, another 16 ounces the hour before and throughout your sweat session. Cool water is OK, while freezing cold may not be the wisest choice, as it can cause stomach cramps.
  • Take a break in the shade. The minute the whistle blows for a water break or you are ready to stretch after your run, find a respite from the sun. Stepping into a space with AC or taking a cool shower is an even more effective way to chill out.
  • Choose your workout strategically. Taking your workout to the pool can help you stay safe while burning calories outdoors. Looking for some fun (and fat-blasting) swimming workouts for any fitness level? FITNESS has you covered.

Now tell us: Do you like to exercise when the mercury is high or do you prefer a workout in a temperature-regulated environment?