Moving your workout to the morning or evening (to avoid the hottest hours of the day) can help keep you cool while you’re exercising outdoors in warm weather.
Summer heat and humidity can certainly put a strain on your exercise plans. While you may have the option to move your workout plans indoors into an air-conditioned space, that’s not the only way to stay cool during warm-weather workouts. With some planning and precautions, many people can still exercise outdoors safely on hot summer days.
Start by understanding how heat (heat around you and produced by you) affects your body.
Anytime we exercise, our bodies produce heat. To avoid overheating, the body expels some of that heat into the air by producing sweat. “Evaporation cools the surface of the skin when sweat changes from liquid to vapor,” says Oluseun Olufade, MD, an assistant professor of orthopedics at Emory School of Medicine and a sports physician for the Atlanta Hawks, U.S. Soccer, and Emory University.
So, when the temperature of the air around you is hotter or when your body is producing more heat through exercise — or both — you sweat more. When it comes to staying cool in the summer heat, sweat is definitely helpful. During exercise, the body also diverts blood flow away from your internal organs and toward the blood vessels around your skin to help your body cool.
Despite all these built-in cooling systems, we can still overheat — especially when exercising in hot conditions. When the heat you’re producing is greater than the heat you’re losing, body temperature rises, which can lead to serious health issues, including heat rash, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke (which can be life-threatening), according to Cleveland Clinic.
Here are some signs that you are experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke and should seek immediate medical attention:
Nausea or vomiting
High body temperature (103 degrees F or higher)
Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
Fast, strong pulse
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