Hitting the gym regularly is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. But, with summer in full swing, exercising in an enclosed space is everything but alluring. Even if you chose the right gym, it can be less than satisfying. So, it’s understandable that you want to take the fun outside. And – you should! Training outdoors is certainly productive while being fun and enjoyable. However, the scorching sun is no friend to great physical strain. In fact, if you’re not careful, it quickly becomes counterproductive and dangerous. And that’s what these safety tips for outdoor summer training are for: to help you achieve your maximum without risking your health in the process.
1. Stay hydrated!!!
No, we’re not shouting. But, those exclamation marks are necessary since this is the most important of all safety tips for outdoor summer training.
Pushing yourself over the limits is extremely satisfying. So much so, in fact, that it can cause you to forget about basic bodily needs. It’s ok; we’ve all been there. And yet, when you’re exercising outside, this is the one thing you can’t afford to neglect. Heat and heavy physical activity will cause you to lose water faster. In turn, you’ll get exhausted more quickly, causing an overall decline in the quality of your training. And, sure, that’s bad, but not nearly as bad as dehydration, which can leave lasting consequences on your health. Therefore, it’s imperative to stay well-hydrated throughout the training session.
Here are some good rules of thumb to follow:
- Start your workout well-hydrated. 20oz of water two hours before training will do the trick;
- Take a break to drink. Hydrating during the workout is imperative. Ideally, you should take a hearty sip every 15 minutes. More often, if you deem it necessary and even if you’re not thirsty at that exact moment;
- Alternatives are welcome but not necessary. A sports dring rich in electrolytes and carbs is excellent if you’re in for a long or high-intensity exercise;
- Stay away from sugary and alcoholic beverages. They may be refreshing, but they’ll dehydrate you fast;
- Re-hydration is important, too. Therefore, drink a glass or two of water immediately after the workout.
2. Choose the right time and place to exercise
The best way to deal with the searing heat is – not to deal with it at all. Therefore, choosing when and where to exercise plays a crucial role in your productivity and safety.
Time is of the essence
It’s essential to choose the appropriate time of the day to exercise. Early morning, before the sun starts burning, is ideal. So is the late evening, when the heat begins to dissipate. Either way, avoid mid-day, from 10 am to 4 pm. However, if this isn’t possible, then consider altering your training regime. Switching to lower-intensity workouts or hitting the pool are great alternatives. That, or be sure to work out in the shade.
Also, pay attention to weather forecasts. Specifically, to check out the humidity info. High humidity makes your natural cooling mechanism (i.e., sweating) much less efficient. In addition, you’ll tire faster, breathe harder, and your body temperature will rise quickly. This does not only make for uncomfortable training but can also have a plethora of adverse effects on your health.
Find your happy place
Lastly, choosing where you’ll exercise is as important as when. Ideally, you want to find a place with lots of greenery and shade. So, a park or nearby forest are excellent options. For instance, the Upper East and Upper West Sides are both great NYC neighborhoods for fitness enthusiasts. Proximity to Central Park makes it easy and convenient to exercise without risking heat stroke or exhaustion. On the flip side, Hudson River Park in Manhattan’s West Village offers an additional benefit of the Hudson River being just a stone’s throw away. In short, there are many suitable parts of New York for safe and productive training. Other cities or towns are similar, and it’ll only take you a bit of research to find your happy training place.
3. Food matters
The impact of the right nutrition on training is already a well-known fact. A proper diet boosts your metabolism and provides enough fuel to get you through your training. Seeing how exercising in the heat makes you spend energy faster, the choice of food is essential. The best solution here is a food rich in complex carbohydrates, a.k.a “good carbs.” They break down slower than other foods, thus providing energy for longer. But, more importantly, sugars they consist of turn into glycogen that helps your body retain water better.
4. Protect yourself from the sun
Proper preparation is the key to safe training. Along with water, food, time, and location, it’s essential to do everything necessary to counter the sun’s harmful effects:
- Dress appropriately: choose loose clothing made out of light, moisture-wicking materials. Cotton is always the popular choice;
- Apply sunscreen: SPF 15 is the bare minimum. Go for SPF 30 or 50 for even better protection;
- Don’t forget the accessories: Although not essential, hats and sunglasses are a welcome addition to your training gear.
5. Learn to recognize the signs of heat-induced problems
If you follow up on previous safety tips for outdoor summer training, there’s a good chance you won’t need this one. Still, it doesn’t hurt to know what are the signs of heat-induced problems.
Heat cramps are the first sign that you need to stop and rehydrate. If they persist after a short break, it’s best to stop training and take a few hours to rest and recuperate.
Heat exhaustion is your body’s way of telling you to chill – literally. Symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating;
- Dizziness or fainting;
If you notice any of the above symptoms – stop training immediately! Find some shade and rehydrate ASAP to avoid further complications. Speaking of which.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition caused by your body’s inability to regulate its temperature. Symptoms of a heat stroke include:
- Rapid pulse and breathing;
- Pale, clammy skin;
- Extreme thirst;
- Convulsions or seizures.
If any of these symptoms occur – seek medical attention urgently! Heatstroke can cause permanent damage to your brain or internal organs and, if not treated right away, can even lead to death.
Stay safe so that you can excel
Training in the great outdoors is always more satisfying than hitting the gym. Especially so during the summer, when you can soak in some rays and enjoy the change of scenery. So, don’t let the heat stop you from improving and doing what you love. Use our safety tips for outdoor summer training so you can keep pushing the boundaries.