Health Advocate Blog

4 strategies to stay safe and cool during summer exercise

The beautiful summer weather may inspire you to take your fitness routine outdoors. However, exercising in the sun and heat requires you to take extra precautions to ensure you stay safe. Follow these tips to stay cool, hydrated, and protected while enjoying your summer workouts.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink water before, during, and after your workout, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Aim to drink at least 16 to 24 ounces of water per hour of exercise.
  • Always have water on hand during your workout. Also consider using sports drinks to replenish your electrolytes
  • Snack on hydrating fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers. Get more hydrating snack ideas here.
  • Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol–these beverages can lead to dehydration

Protect yourself from the sun

  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and reapply it every two hours or after sweating or swimming
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, breathable clothing that covers your skin, such as clothing made from moisture-wicking fabrics
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your scalp, face, neck, and ears
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes

Time your exercise around the sun and heat

  • Plan your outdoor workouts in the early morning or late afternoon or evening when the heat and sun’s rays are less intense
  • Check the weather forecast and UV index to plan your workout accordingly
  • Pack a cooler with water, electrolyte-rich drinks, and healthy snacks if you’ll be exercising for an extended period of time
  • Consider exercising indoors during the hottest parts of the day. Go to the gym if you belong to one, or try an at-home workout that you can do inside.

Listen to your body

  • Stay mindful of your body’s signals, and adjust your workout intensity or duration as needed to prevent heat-related illnesses
  • Stop your activity if you start to feel unwell, and find a cool place to rest, and drink water
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of heat-related illness, and especially if your symptoms persist or get worse. Get more information here.

By following these tips, you can enjoy outdoor summer fitness activities while staying safe from the sun and the heat.