This is a guest post by Mike Tennant…bit different theme for the site but great tips to stay safe in the sun, so enjoy!
As someone who’s spent a lot of time trying to control seemingly random weight fluctuations, it became apparent several years ago that regular exercise would be my best weapon. So I hit the gym, early and often. As a Midwestern boy, however, it was often tough to get myself to the gym on cold winter days. And on days when I did go, all I could think about was how awful the cold walk home was going to be. That’s definitely not a recipe for success.
But there was one time of year when all that didn’t matter – the summer. After months of cold and snow, you could finally go back outside, enjoy the weather and get some real exercise without all the weather issues – or so I thought. The only problem with Midwestern summers was the heat. And it went from pleasant to hot in a hurry. If you weren’t careful, you could easily fall victim to the hot sun while shooting hoops or jogging around the local track. Your body has to work much harder during the summer months to maintain a stable temperature. Between the heat and the exercise, you can easily push your body beyond its limits.
Below are several important tips for staying safe when exercising outdoors during the hot summer months. Though simple, these tips can be extremely important, especially if you put yourself through an intense workout regularly.
Protect your skin. You may not feel it at first, but excessive sunburn can really hamper future workouts. It can also lead to more serious conditions, even skin cancer. Always use sunscreen when you know you’ll be outside for a prolonged period. While seemingly obvious, it’s nonetheless vital for keeping your skin safe. Wear a hat to lessen sun exposure to the face and neck – two spots extremely vulnerable to contact with the sun.
Wear light clothing. Tight clothing can constrict blood flow and limit your body’s natural ventilation process, so it’s important to wear loose clothing when exercising in the sun. It’s also much more comfortable! Sleeveless shirts and shorts are must-haves for any summer exercise maven, as they allow your body to breathe more than normal shirts and pants. Lighter fabrics are also important for helping you stay cool.
Stretch! This is something that you most likely do already, but you’d be surprised how many people will start their workouts without stretching first. This is especially important in the summer when your muscles get tired that much quicker. Not only can stretching help prevent injury, it’ll also help you work out longer and harder – even if the sun is beating down on you.
Change your workout times. The sun is at its warmest and most brutal during the midday hours, so try to time your workouts for evenings or early mornings if possible. The cooler temperatures will keep you stronger for longer. Not only can you get a better workout while it’s cooler, but you can also help to avoid overworking your body and even heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Drink plenty of water. Again, this is standard fare for any workout warrior, but drinking plenty is more important than ever when working out during the summer. Proper hydration is key to keeping safe while out in the sun. The heat will dehydrate you quickly, so make sure to have plenty of water on hand and available all throughout your workout.
Take frequent breaks. When working out in the hot sun, it’s beneficial to take numerous breaks to allow your body to recover. Having a cool area in your home in which to recover and allow your body to cool down can also be beneficial. If you can’t get inside to cool down, seek out a shaded place to rest and relax – like under a tree or even in a public building like the library.
Mike Tennant is a freelance writer and columnist from Orange County who’s recently lost more than 90 lbs through diet modification and lots of exercise. Mike currently works with Air & Water Inc. in an effort to help consumers find the best evaporative cooler for their needs.