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Warm Weather Workout TipsWarm Weather Workout Tips

Warm Weather Workout TipsWarm Weather Workout Tips

While the summer’s warm rays are a welcome seasonal perk, those same rays can cause serious medical issues if you’re exercising in hot weather. That’s why ATRIO Health Plans is sharing tips designed to maximize your summer workout while simultaneously preserving your good health.

Specifically, working out in warm weather steps up stress on your body because the act of exercising – coupled with higher air temperature – works to increase your core body temperature. In response, the body tries to cool itself by sending more blood to circulate through the skin. On the downside, this leaves less blood for your muscles – a consequence that then bumps up your heart rate. Add high humidity to the equation, and your body temperature will likely soar skyward, and one of these heat-related conditions could result:

  • Heat cramps – these are painful muscle contractions that usually affect the calves, quadriceps, and abdominals.
  • Heat exhaustion – occurs when your body temperature rises as high as 104 degrees. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness, and cold, clammy skin.
  • Heatstroke – this is a life-threatening illness in which your body temperature is greater than 104 degrees. Without immediate medical attention, heatstroke can be fatal.

Keys to Keeping Cool

Studies have shown that working out in warm weather actually can improve fitness levels, but only if you take steps to stay as cool as possible, including:

  • Dress to sweat – sweat is our body’s natural air-conditioner, so select clothes that promote perspiration. Most sporting-goods manufacturers make workout clothes from fabrics specially designed to pull sweat away from the body; avoid cotton, as it acts like a sweat magnet.
  • Apply sunscreen – sunburns actually thwart the body’s ability to cool itself, so apply sunscreen before stepping out; wearing sunglasses and a hat also are recommended.
  • Take it slow – if you’re not used to exercising in warm weather, ease into a summer regimen by gradually increasing the length and intensity of your workouts.
  • Stay hydrated – avoiding dehydration is central to preventing heat-related illnesses, so stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If your workout is going to be fairly intense and more than one-hour long, opt for a sports drink instead. As a general rule of thumb, two hours before exercising – drink one to two cups of water – and one-half to one cup right before working out. During your workout, consume one-half to one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Schedule workouts – obviously you want to avoid the sun’s warmest rays, which peak at midday; instead, exercise in the morning or evening, and – wherever possible – workout in the shade.
  • Ditch the heat – on particularly hot or humid days, it’s best to exercise indoors – go to the gym or take a powerwalk around your local mall.
  • Warm up – while warming up in warm weather may sound unnecessary, it’s actually a good way to acclimate your body to the increased outdoor temperature and slowly raise your heart rate.
  • Cool down – gradually decreasing your heart rate is especially important in warm weather, so cap off your workout by cooling down – walk for three to five minutes and then do some light stretching.
  • Watch for symptoms – if you experience any of these symptoms – muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headache, dizziness, or confusion – immediately seek medical attention.

Follow these steps, and your summer workouts will shine.