Safely Embrace the Summer Workout: Tips for Exercising in the Heat

Exercising in the Heat: At Smart Strength

Since we are still under construction here at Smart Strength, and our state has closed fitness clubs, many of us are returning to traditional modes to get our fitness fix.  Walks, jogs, swims, or even good old gardening are hot on everyone’s agenda this time of year.  The weather has shifted gears, and we need to take a few minutes to talk about how to exercise safely in the heat. 

Unveiling the Science of Summer Fitness

You should address a couple of physiological changes when exercising in hot environments.  Acclimatization is a simple yet essential rule when working out in the heat.  And we need to expose ourselves to the heat in increments.  Limit your intensity and time in the heat early on.  After a few days of training in the heat, you can increase your intensity and time and monitor your feelings.  After a few weeks, you will be fully acclimated and probably supporting a nice tan too!

Secrets of Hydration for Effective Heat Exercise

Hydration is key to working out in the heat.  It goes without saying that as we get hot, we sweat.  This is one of our physiological mechanisms to help cool us down through the evaporation of sweat from the body.  It’s the same reason you feel chilled after getting out of a pool and letting yourself “air-dry.”  What is not understood by most people is just how much sweat and water you need to replace the loss.  The best way to combat this is to drink water early and often throughout the day.  Don’t try and gulp it all down right before your workout.  That will make you feel bloated and won’t effectively hydrate you.

The Crucial Link Between Blood Viscosity and Summer Exercise

Another aspect of hydration that is especially important in hot environments is how it affects our blood and its viscosity.  Think of lava.  We have all seen two images: slow-oozing and fast-flowing hot lava.  That is a difference in viscosity.  As we exercise and heat up, our blood does similar things.  It becomes thinner and more fluid due to increased heat and flow.  We need water more than ever to help support this. Because of dehydration, our blood gets thicker and more challenging to push throughout our bodies, therefore not delivering as much oxygen to the tissues and waste removal from the tissues, affecting our performance… and making us feel ill.

Overcoming Challenges with Acclimatization and Hydration

Do not fear the outdoors and sunny weather, however. These topics can all be resolved with proper acclimatization and hydration. Plus, we all know and love the positive aspects of working out in the summertime sun.  We feel nice and limber and enjoy the long, beautiful days.

I can’t wait to see you in beautiful downtown Albion.  Next time, we can train inside with the AC running at the Smart Strength Growth and Conditioning.  

Work Smarter, not harder!