It’s summer and you feel like getting off the treadmill and getting on the road to enjoy the trails. Exercising outdoors has its own set of benefits, mainly the sights and sounds, not to mention a more exhaustive workout. But the problem with jumping indoors to outdoors to exercise in hot weather comes from the adjustment that your body needs to adapt to the higher temps and other changes. According to experts, it takes 10-14 days of exposure to heat while exercising to reduce a person’s risk to heat stroke.
If it takes almost 2 weeks to adjust to outside temperatures instead of the steady gym environment, the question then becomes what can someone do in those 2 weeks to help with the adjustment. Fret not exercise nuts, we’ve got some tips to help you get ready for the outdoors.
Know Your Body
The first rule of any exercise regimen is to understand what your body can and cannot do. Knowing how to exercise at your peak performance levels is half the battle when it comes to fitness. If you have been hitting the gym for the entirety of your fitness years, start out slow when you shift it outdoors. Start with 15-20 minutes of exercise activity with plenty of frequent rest periods and water breaks.
Hydrating is Key
Hydration is the most crucial element of any workout regimen and we are not just talking about water. Replenishing lost electrolytes and avoiding dehydration is absolutely necessary if you are going to perform at your peak fitness levels during the workout and recovery after one. Although each person’s hydration needs are different, a good rule of thumb is to drink 8 ounces of fluids for every half hour of exercise. Drinking 8-10 ounces of water 15 minutes before your workouts also helps in starting your workout strong.
What you should drink is a bone of contention with many fitness experts. Some prefer water and others will champion the need to drink sports drinks. Personally, we prefer to stay with the regular ol’ water because of the sugar levels in sports drinks. Or you can go crazy and drink some chocolate milk.
Timing is Crucial
When you are outdoors to exercise is almost, if not more crucial than what exactly you will be doing. Avoiding the hottest times of the day is necessary when you are just starting to help your body acclimate to the hot weather. Skip your workouts between 11 am and 3 pm, when the day is hottest and watch out for those extra humid days. Humidity works against your body’s cooling abilities by making it difficult for the sweat to evaporate. Instead try and finish up your workouts early in the morning, between 5 am to 8 am. Exercising first thing in the morning also has significant weight loss benefits by increasing your metabolism.
Salt Up Your Snacks
Hear us out here. When you are exercising in moderately warm to high temperatures, salt depletion is a major cause of heat exhaustion. It is absolutely crucial in replenishing the salt content that you tend to lose when you sweat. “Sodium and potassium are the main minerals that makeup electrolytes, which regulate fluid balance. We lose electrolytes when we sweat, so they need to be replaced by drinking fluids and eating foods rich in these minerals,” says Peggy Hall, a nutritional therapist, and wellness expert, to Shape magazine.
So, grab a handful of salted nuts or pumpkin seeds or even a bunch of olives, which will help you during your runs.
Toss The Alcohol Aside
Alcohol dehydrates your body; those are just facts. Yes, a good mug of beer goes a long way in enjoying your weekend but when you are out and about in the heat the next morning, it could possibly be the worst thing you can do. Dehydration caused by alcohol can potentially affect your judgment as well as your coordination resulting in serious injuries.
So, if you are planning to workout outdoors, it’s best to stick with non-alcoholic beverages the previous day and you can kick ass on your runs during those hot and balmy days.