For many people, summer is a great motivator to get moving. The days are longer, and the warmer weather is an open invitation to head outside. But be cautious: Exercising in hot weather increases the risks of overexertion and cardiovascular problems. Here are some tips for healthy activities through the summer.
Exercising in the heat: A special challenge for the body
When exercise on hot summer days you have to find the right balance. You should listen to your body and not overexert yourself. In hot weather, your heart and circulation have to work particularly hard to protect your body from overheating. To cool down, the body channels additional blood to the upper layers of the skin and the extremities. This “diversion” of blood from the muscles is disadvantageous: The more strenuous the exercise, the more exhausted you become. That’s why it’s important to adapt your exercise plan to summer temperatures, reduce the intensity and be sure to take frequent breaks.
Drink plenty of water and compensate for the loss of body fluids
Especially at high temperatures, the body regulates itself through fluid loss. That’s why it’s important to drink regularly to compensate and prevent performance loss. It is recommended to take a few sips of non-carbonated water or diluted fruit juice approximately every 20 minutes. Take in even more fluids following exercise. Avoid high sugar soft drinks and alcoholic beverages as they extract additional fluids from the body.
Don’t forget appropriate clothing and sun protection
In addition to sufficient fluid intake, you can support the body’s internal cooling system with breathable, loose-fitting clothing. Light-colored garments are more suitable as they store less heat than dark material. Sufficient sun protection is also recommended to avoid not only painful sunburn but also possible skin diseases. Be sure to apply sunscreen products before exercise and reapply regularly. It is also advisable to use protective headwear.
Exercise in the morning or evening hours and adapt your course
In summer, not only the heat, but also UV rays are particularly strong at midday. If possible, avoid excessive efforts at this time and shift your exercise to the morning or evening hours. Not only is it cooler, but the ozone load is lower as well. Another idea is to shift your training course from more exposed areas to the forest shade. Be sure to give your body enough time to recover following exercise, as summer activities are particularly demanding. A lukewarm shower is recommended for muscle regeneration and cooling.
The heart and circulation must work particularly hard in hot weather to protect the body from overheating.