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If it’s hot and humid outside, here’s how to get your workout in without feeling sick.

The heat is on! But does that mean your workout needs to be put on hold? No way! There’s no doubt that you’ll have to take some precautions or make a few adjustments if you’re planning to exercise when temps and humidity soar, but as long as you’re smart about it, there’s no reason you need to skip your workout during the dog days of summer.

Here are 7 tips to help you enjoy your workout more safely and comfortably:
  1. Stay hydrated. One of the biggest threats to working out in high heat is dehydration. Make sure you drink up before, during and after your workout. Although water is always the best way to stay hydrated, you may need to sip on a sports drink that contains sodium, potassium and other electrolytes if you’re working out for more than 60 minutes or are going especially hard.
  2. Take a cool shower before you begin. Start off feeling comfortable by dipping into a cool shower and leaving your hair wet. Your wet hair will help keep you cooler, at least at the beginning of your workout.
  3. Don’t forget sunscreen. The heat isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Sunburn can ruin your workout, too. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher shortly before working out. Choose one that is waterproof so it stays on even when you start to sweat.
  4. Dress for the weather. Wear light-colored clothing made from sweat-wicking material. Cotton can also help you stay cooler since it is breathable. Avoid dark colors that can absorb the heat of the sun.
  5. Change your timing. Early morning or later in the evening are typically the coolest times of the day to exercise outdoors. Try to avoid the midday sun and heat when possible. Choosing a day when the breeze is blowing, the clouds are abundant or there’s even some rain falling are ideal outdoor workout days in the summer.
  6. Find a new location. You may love exercising outdoors, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. If the temperature is too high, it’s very humid, the air quality is poor or you find that the heat gets to you or compromises your performance, take your workout indoors. This can be the safest way to exercise in the heat.
  7. Listen to your body. You may feel that it’s okay to sweat and that you’re immune to heat-related illness, but that thinking can be dangerous. Although a little sweat never hurt anyone, take a break if you begin to feel dizzy, nauseous, weak or tired. If you experience muscle cramps, a headache or feel off in any way, stop what you’re doing and get out of the heat. Drink lots of fluids and find a place where you can cool down. Continuing to push your body can lead to serious heat-related illness that can quickly become a medical emergency.

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Date Last Reviewed: June 15, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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