Let's face it - if you live anywhere near where I live (Texas) or even nowhere near where I live (England, for instance), you are probably in the midst of a heat wave. This year has seen record highs all over the globe, and it's still just the first day of August! This means that heat-related illnesses are a risk factor in your outdoor workouts.
Use these tips to help you stay safe:
Warm up to the warmth. It can take a few weeks for your body to acclimate to outdoor workouts, especially if you're used to a cooler environment, whether indoor or outdoor. Go easy for your first few workouts and gradually increase the length and intensity as you get used to it.
Know the forecast. Just like you watch the weather for rain or wind, keep an eye on the forecast for heat and humidity, too.
HYDRATE. Ok... this one is the one you're all probably tired of hearing about, but in my experience, we all don't drink enough water. And make sure you consider the CONTENT of that sports drink you use to rehydrate after a long hike or outdoor activity! Is it mostly sugar, salt, and food dye? Is it formulated for an adult or an infant? (Also, remember that a cold beer after a hot workout may seem so great, but you need to balance it with hydrating intake because sometimes alcohol can promote fluid loss.)
Know your fitness level. If you're new to exercise (or outdoor exercise), give yourself some grace when working out in the heat. Your body may have a lower tolerance to the heat.
Think light when it comes to clothing. Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps sweat evaporate and keeps you cooler. Light colored clothing and hats will also help keep you cool by avoiding (and sometimes deflecting) all that heat that
Avoid overhead sun! You find more shade closer to sunrise and sunset (what my sister calls the "bookend" times of day), and it's more likely to be cooler then, too. If midday is your only time of day to snag a workout, take breaks and maybe even consider hitting up your local pool for an in-water workout.
Don't skip the sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body's ability to cool itself and increases the risk of skin cancer. It's also really uncomfortable and flat-out makes life difficult.
But why should you even worry about the heat? Check out the infographic below for a quick guide on what to look for and what to do when you encounter warning signs!