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July 19, 2018 - TCO

Keeping your cool during hot summer workouts

When summer hits, there’s nothing better than taking your workouts outdoors, especially after a long, cold winter. Right, Minnesotans? But when the heat really starts to climb, it begs the questions, “How can I keep my cool?” or “How hot is too hot?”

Turns out, these questions can’t be boiled down to one simple answer because, well, physics. But unless the heat climbs exceedingly high (90 degrees and above), you shouldn’t have to trade your outdoor workout for indoor AC. Here’s how to play it safe during your summer sweat sessions.

Timing Is Everything

Typically, 3 p.m. is the hottest part of the day. If possible, time your workout or practice before then, ideally before noon when the sun is high in the sky. And when you do head out, don’t forget to take regular breaks.

Water It Down

According to this New York Times article, sitting in a tub filled with chilly water for 30 minutes prior to exercising helped athletes perform and feel better in hot conditions. A more practical alternative? Try spritzing your face with cool water—or even pour it over your head—during breaks.

Sweat It Out

Use your body’s natural cooling system! Though it’s tempting to wear antiperspirant or wipe the wetness away, you’re better off letting it be. As NIH News in Health points out, “sweating is key to cooling when hot weather or exercise causes your body temperature to climb. When sweat dries, it carries heat away from your body’s surface and lowers your temperature.”

Wear the Right Gear

Contrary to popular opinion, wearing lighter clothing doesn’t necessarily help you stay cool. According to Health.com, what’s more important is your clothing’s weight and absorbency, which is why you should avoid wearing cotton and spandex. Instead, opt for poly blends which help wick away moisture and eliminate heat.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

The American College of Sports Medicine notes, “Athletes should be instructed to drink water throughout the day, before practice, during practice, within two hours after practice and on successive days.” For regular exercise, Health.com advises 7-10 ounces of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise or when you feel thirsty.

Factor in the Humidity

If you’re a Minnesotan, chances are you’ve heard the saying, “It’s not just the heat. It’s the humidity.” And it’s true. Weathercasts expert says, “If dew points are in the 70s or 80s, it might be a good day to…workout in an air-conditioned place. It wouldn’t be a good time to do a high-intensity workout or a long run.”

Check the Heat Index

When you put humidity and heat together, you get the Heat Index—a great tool to determine whether you should exercise with caution, adjust your exercise time and/or intensity or move it indoors. TCO’s fitness classes are a fantastic way to get your workout in without putting yourself at risk.

Know Your Limits

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a trained athlete, everyone has their own boiling point. Get to know yours and keep in mind that it’s totally OK to call off your outdoor workout if it’s just too darn hot. The key is to stop before you’ve pushed it too far.

Also, learn to recognize the physical signs of heat-related illness, like the sudden onset of headaches, chills and dizziness. And remember, keeping cool will not necessarily prevent heat sickness. If you start feeling ill, immediately drink water and seek shade. And, of course, dial 911 in emergencies.

Ready to Up Your Game?

If you want to use the summer months to take your workout or game to the next level, whether you’re preparing for a fall sport or just want to up the ante, TCO can get you there safely and effectively. Our individualized Sports Performance Programs will help you train smarter and with fewer injuries. For those in the Eagan and surrounding area, check out TrainingHAUS.com, powered by TCO. Register today!