Ask a Trainer, from Scott Fushi, trainer at Midtown Fitness Center, Putnam CT.
Question: Summer weather can be so hot! I have a hard time working out. Do you have any suggestions or tips on how to beat the heat?
Answer: There are several things you can do to keep your “cool” when exercising during hot weather. These ideas will work well for you whether you are in the gym or active outside, gardening or going for a nice walk.
When outside: keep in shaded areas whenever possible or make your own shade. You can use a hat or an inexpensive portable canopy that you can move while in the garden.
*** This isn’t about staying cool but it is as important! Always use adequate sunscreen protection especially on the children!
An inexpensive spray bottle is a great way to help you cool down when the temperature is up. There are even products in the stores that combine a fan and mister. Whatever you use, you will be glad to have one of these in your hands. You can spray around your whole body and especially your neck and face. This keeps you cool while walking, cycling, or while enjoying the beach. I have used them while jogging and they act as hand weights too.
It is also very important to consider the water inside your body. For every 20 minutes of moderate exercise outside, drink a ½ - full cup more of water than the recommended 6-8 cups per day. After 60 minutes or more of outside activity, electrolyte & mineral replacement is crucial. Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, or Vitamin Water will help safely hydrate you during endurance type activities. Contact your physician prior to starting any new exercise routine if you have physical or nutritional limitations.
One of your body’s ways of cooling itself is through sweating. Drinking fluids helps keep this cooling system primed and optimizes internal cell functions. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to have a drink! Keep a steady flow of fluids in your system by sipping often during your entire activity/exercise. Big gulps of water can lead to stomach aches or nausea. If you stop sweating, you are at risk of potential dehydration and/or heat exhaustion. Stop your exercise/activity immediately, cool down and hydrate slowly.
Try a cold moist towel draped around your neck and another on your forehead to help in that situation. If a cold wet towel is easily available, this can keep you comfortable in very hot conditions, indoors or outside. The human body is amazing at its adaptability and capabilities, but nothing shuts you down quicker than overheating. If you do not respect this fact, you can find yourself not only uncomfortable, but possibly jeopardizing your health, or the health of children you are responsible for. It is still possible to be active and exercise in hot conditions. A little preparation and awareness will go a long way to insuring a safe and effective workout.