There’s nothing like exercising outdoors while enjoying clear blue skies and bright sunlight. But before you put on your workout shoes and head out of the door, you should take the time to learn about how to exercise safely during the hotter months. This is because, if you aren’t careful, the warm weather may pose some serious dangers to your health. That being said, read on for five helpful safety tips to keep in mind before doing any strenuous physical activities during the summer:
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Putting on the right type of apparel for your summer workout is crucial to your safety. With that in mind, you should wear loose-fitting clothes made of lightweight fabric that will allow your sweat to evaporate more quickly as you exercise. Conversely, wearing tight, restrictive clothing can cause your body to heat up excessively, leading to dangerous conditions such as heat stroke. Fortunately, there are plenty of specialty clothes these days that are specifically designed to better wick sweat away from your body.
You may also want to invest in a pair of high-quality men’s compression socks, as they can provide ample pressure for your legs and feet, offering additional support as you exert yourself. Try to pick a pair of compression socks made out of a fabric that’s specially designed to keep bacteria at bay, as this can prevent conditions such as foot odor and athlete’s foot.
In general, you should also avoid dark-coloured clothing. Why? Dark colours, especially black, absorb all the wavelengths of light that hit them. White or light colours, on the other hand, reflect all or most wavelengths of light instead of absorbing them. The sunlight absorbed by dark colours gets converted into other forms of energy, such as heat, which is what causes you to feel warmer when wearing dark-coloured clothing.
As you sweat, your body cools off through the natural process of perspiration. However, this same process causes your body to lose a large amount of fluids. Remember that, on average, at least 50 percent of the adult human body is made up of water. As such, not drinking enough water may cause you to experience symptoms of dehydration such as dry lips, a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, headache, or muscle cramps. If left unaddressed, dehydration may be seriously debilitating or fatal.
The simplest solution is to carry a bottle of water along with you so that you can take a sip as often as needed. You can also switch out your regular drinking water for sports drinks, as these products can help replenish electrolytes that are lost when you sweat them out. As a post-workout snack, you can also pack some slices of water-rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumber.
When exercising outdoors, excessive exposure to the sun’s harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays may lead to premature aging and serious health conditions such as skin cancer. Fortunately, these conditions can easily be prevented by applying sunscreen to your skin, preferably one with an SPF of 30 or higher. Just remember to reapply sunscreen after a couple of hours, especially since you’ll be sweating profusely while working out.
You can also put on clothing that is specially designed to provide UV protection. Those made of materials such as nylon and polyester can more effectively block UV rays because of their compact weave. There are also workout clothes made of fabrics that are treated with special chemicals, making them better able to absorb or deflect UV rays.
Don’t Stay Out in the Sun for Too Long
In addition to the above tips, you’ll also want to figure out the best times to exercise outdoors. Generally speaking, you should avoid working out under the noonday sun. During this time of the day, the sun is at its highest point in the sky and emits the most intense and pervasive light and heat, thus exposing you to extreme temperatures.
That said, mornings are a great time to go out and enjoy some physical activity, as the sun’s rays are usually not as harsh during this period. Alternatively, you might want to take a walk in the late afternoon to early evening, when the sun is setting and the breeze is way cooler.
Know Your Body’s Limits
When working out in the summer heat, your body might not be able to handle vigorous exercise like it would during the cooler months. Thus, you should listen to your body and take note of any uncomfortable feelings, such as dizziness, fatigue, or nausea. These may be symptoms of serious medical emergencies such as heat stroke. With all this in mind, don’t push yourself too hard. Know when to stop and take a rest.
If your summer goal is to get into tiptop shape, follow the tips above to avoid any discomfort, injury, or disease. Invest in the right clothing, always stay hydrated, apply and re-apply sunscreen throughout the day, limit your exposure to the sun, and listen to your body. Stay safe out there!