Exercising In The Heat: Tips To Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Exercising In The Heat: Tips To Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Authored by Marshall on June 24, 2023

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Sweaters are packed away for the season, ice cube trays are constantly being refilled, and the air conditioner is humming away in the window. Yes, summer is here! Whether paddleboarding on Quinn’s Pond, floating down Boise River, or attending an epic outdoor concert, summer activities are all about having fun and enjoying longer days and warmer temperatures.

For athletes like yourself, summer also means working out in the heat. This can feel like a pretty big change after months of spending cold and dark winter mornings at the gym. In fact, many athletes are a bit cautious when it comes to working out in hot weather—and for good reason. After all, heat has a major effect on the body, and that, in turn, affects everything from athletic performance to post-sesh recovery.

So, is it safe to work out in hot weather? In this article, we will take a close look at exercising in extreme heat. So the next time the mercury rises, you will know exactly how to move forward with your workout. Remember, if you have any more questions about this topic, get in touch with our team. We’d be happy to help you figure out the best summertime workout plan for your unique needs.

Understanding the Impact of Heat on Exercise Performance

Weather and temperature can have a pretty substantial effect on our bodies. For some people, this might be especially pronounced. Working out in the heat can be very difficult and unpleasant. In fact, approaching your workout like normal on a hot day can be dangerous. On a super hot day, your body will handle exercise differently, and that can lead to heat exhaustion, which can turn into heatstroke. Heatstroke is no joke; it’s a nasty experience that can even be fatal in extreme circumstances. While that sounds incredibly scary—and it is—it isn’t a black-and-white issue.

While working out in extreme heat can be dangerous, it’s very doable if approached safely and correctly. It’s also important to remember that every athlete’s body will respond differently to heat, and unique circumstances should be taken into consideration before hitting the gym during a scorcher.

Who Is at Risk of Heatstroke?

Some groups of people might find that they are more susceptible to heatstroke. If you have a high BMI or are a beginner athlete, over the age of 65, taking certain types of medication, or experiencing an illness, you might be at a higher risk for experiencing heatstroke during a summer workout. This does not mean that you cannot exercise until the fall hits—au contraire! It simply means that you must approach your workout with this in mind. Plan a modified workout, take extra care to listen to your body during hot-weather exercise, work at a reasonable pace and level, and stay appropriately hydrated. We highly recommend working with a personal training coach during the summer months; these fitness experts have experience working out in extreme heat and will be able to offer support and help you develop a workout routine that is safe and ideal for hot days.

As the summer heats up, it’s also a good idea to double-check with your doctor before you hit the gym, especially if you think you may be more susceptible to heatstroke. You can then proceed with confidence and excitement about your summer workout rather than worry about heat exhaustion the whole time.

Top Tips for Staying Safe During a Summer Workout

Here are some key tips for safely and effectively working out in hot weather:

1) Stay Hydrated

This is crucial. You will need to be more hydrated than usual when working out in extreme heat. Be sure to have lots to drink. While cold water is, of course, key, we also recommend getting your hands on some electrolytes. Sports drinks like Gatorade have electrolytes in them, and you can also buy powders to mix into your water bottle. These drinks help replenish some of the salt you lose from sweating, so they are great for hydrating during a hot-day workout.

2) Adjust Your Exercise Routine for High Temperatures

Even if you’re a seasoned athlete, your regular fitness routine might not be ideal for the scorching temps. Be sure to modify your workout to align with the hot weather; this might mean a shorter sesh and skipping the more intensive parts of your routine altogether.

If you’re exercising outdoors, we also recommend plenty of sunscreen and avoiding the hottest part of the day, which is typically around 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Idaho.

3) Wear the Right Gear

Beat the heat in style! What you wear to work out always matters— after all, you wouldn’t hit the gym in a pair of stilettos. This is even more true when it comes to summer workouts. Be sure to dress in light-colored, breathable fabrics that are loose on your body.

If you ever find yourself experiencing heat exhaustion during a workout, removing excess clothing (along with taking other steps to cool down) can help.

Exercising in the heat

4) Buddy Up

Working with another person can help keep you in check during a hot-day workout. You will be more likely to keep a steady pace with another person and can call each other out if either of you starts going too hard. You’ll also be able to help each other if either of you experiences any signs of heat exhaustion.

It’s good to know someone has your back in more extreme circumstances and that you can do the same for them.

5) Know the Signs

Heat exhaustion can turn into something more dangerous—heatstroke—if not dealt with properly. It’s helpful to know the signs of heat exhaustion so you can prevent heatstroke.

If you experience symptoms of heat exhaustion, you must take steps to cool your body down. Get yourself to a cool space, remove any clothing that you don’t need, drink liquids, and use a cold pack or sponge on your skin to reduce its temperature. In most cases, you should feel better within a half hour. If 30 minutes pass and you are still experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s best to play it safe and seek medical attention.

If you are at the gym and notice symptoms of heat exhaustion (or see a fellow athlete experiencing symptoms), please seek help from a member of staff.

6) Don’t Forget to Cool Down

After you finish your workout, we recommend taking steps to cool your body down, even if you aren’t experiencing heat exhaustion. Likely you are still pretty hot and sweaty and will benefit from a cool-down!

Before you leave the gym, we recommend taking ten minutes to engage in a gentle cool-down routine to help regulate your heart rate. From there, let your body naturally cool down by removing clothing and finding a comfortable place to chill and drink some water.

A cool shower can be great, but ideally, you should gradually bring the temperature down rather than shock yourself by stepping into an icy cascade while still actively sweating. In fact, experts say to take a 10-minute break after your workout before hopping into the shower.

Let’s Get Started!

Developing a personal workout routine will keep you motivated and on track to crush all of your goals, whatever the season or weather may be. We can help get you started! At Jack City Fitness, our gym is open 24/7 to our Partners, so they can access our first-class equipment and space at any time. Partners also have full access to our rotating schedule of heart-pumping classes, one-on-one coaching sessions, special fitness events, and much more.

If you’re ready to start sweating with us, call (208) 999-1111 today. We’ll invite you to our Boise gym for a FREE fitness consultation on our InBody machine, plus a chance to view our facilities and meet our team. If you like what you see, you can sign up to become a Partner for immediate access.

We can’t wait to meet you and see you smash those goals!



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