By Darrell W. Butler, TFW/Parisi Sports Performance Coach; ACE, NFPT CPT
Outdoor workouts are a great way to break the monotony of the gym and get closer to nature. As the temperatures rise, however, you’ll need to take a few necessary precautions to ensure that you don’t become a victim of the elements.
With that said, here are 6 great ways to beat the heat when exercising outside this summer.
1. Dress appropriately – Light colors are highly recommended as they won’t attract the sun’s heat quite as much as darker options. Natural, loose-fitting fabrics also work best, so if you have a white cotton tee; that should be your first option! Some fitness companies also offer specialty workout clothing that provides heat protection. You can typically find the sun protection levels indicated on the label. Whichever option you choose, the fabric should be breathable and comfortable as not to cause chaffing or excessive sweat buildup. Complete your look with a hat and dark wraparound sunglasses to help protect your eyes and prevent headaches.
2. Use a Natural Sunscreen – Natural sunscreens will help limit the potentially harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. I stress the word “natural” here because there’s been a great debate lately about artificial sunblock possibly having cancer causing effects. So with that said, make sure to do your research carefully before selecting a brand if you still decide to go down that route instead. Otherwise, look for an all-natural brand or download a recipe that you can make at home by utilizing several common ingredients.
3. Adjust your workout times – If your schedule is flexible, it might be wise to workout earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the temperature isn’t as high and the humidity is most likely lower. The sun tends to be most dangerous between noon and 2pm so instead of taking that lunchtime walk outside, try hitting the stairs. If there’s a mall nearby, you can also go for a walk inside of there instead…just try not to get too distracted and end up at Cinnabon!
4. Stay hydrated – Proper hydration levels are even more essential when it’s hot outside since you’re likely to sweat more than usual. Staying hydrated will not only help to keep you cooler, but will also help prevent cramps, dizziness and heart palpitations while simultaneously keeping your metabolism humming. Betancourt Nutrition’s BCAA Plus actually contains an incredible hydration blend that mixes well and tastes great! Check out my full review on the BCAA Plus product landing page.
5. Remember that you still need to eat - As it gets hotter outside, many people lose their appetite. If you’re going to place heavy demands on your body by working out in the sun however, it’s vital that you get a proper balance of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats into your system throughout the day. Since it’s often easier to drink your calories even when you don’t necessarily feel like eating, check out our full selection of Betancourt Nutrition proteins and amino acids. Try adding some ice and blending our delicious products for a healthy frozen treat that will help you pack on muscle without packing on fat!
6. Take extra breaks – You’ll have to remember that you may not be able to perform as efficiently in extreme temperatures as you can under normal circumstances. Take the time to warm up and cool down properly and if you aren’t as fast or strong as you are indoors, know that that’s okay. No, that’s not an excuse to slack off or give up completely! There’s definitely a fine line between “pushing through the pain” and “pushing too far” however, so pay close attention to what your body is trying to tell you throughout your workout. If you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy or nauseas at any point, take a moment to regroup and recover before pushing forward with your routine.
Darrell W. Butler is a certified fitness and nutrition specialist and holds a BA degree from Rutgers University.