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Tips for running or exercising in the heat

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ELLIOT MATTINGLY, Doctor of Physical Therapy, KORT Bardstown Rehab Services

I am very passionate about running and truly despise running indoors. I can tell you that the temperature has an extreme effect on my ability to run like I want. With temperatures starting to rise and more and more people getting out exercising, we thought this would be a great time to address ways to ensure that everything goes as smooth as possible. We are going to discuss six different tips that can keep you safe and allow you to still get out and exercise.

1. Take your time

It usually takes a couple of weeks for our bodies to adjust to the temperature change. Our perspiration will increase, cooling our core temperature. It is important to slow down your pace and intensity to fully allow your body to acclimate. If you go out to fast you are putting yourself at an unnecessary risk.

2. Adjust your schedule

While it may be most convenient to run right after work or during a lunch break, it might not be the best option. Try to find times where the temperature is lower to run or exercise. Running/exercising in the morning is a great way to start off your day and even allows you to burn more calories throughout the day.

3. Dress appropriately

It is important to wear clothing that is lighter in color that is also loose fitting. This will allow your body to wick away its sweat, keeping you cool, and reflect more light. It is important to wear sun screen, sunglasses, and a hat for protection for your skin and eyes.

4. Hydrate

For exercise less than 45 minutes, water is still okay. Anything longer than this, drinks higher in electrolytes (like sports drinks) are suggested every 20-30 minutes. Be cautious of these sports drinks as they are high in sugar. Try SWORD hydration if you want something high in electrolytes and low in sugar.

5. Be Smart

If there is a heat advisory or air quality advisory, be smart. This might be the day to take your workout inside or switch your rest day and your workout day. The risk of exercising in extreme heat is not worth it!

6. Adjust your intensity

I mentioned this before but it is important to mention again. Exercising in the heat demands a higher energy output than normal. Be conscious of this! If you typically run at a 10:00 mile pace … expect this to be slower! You will still get a large benefit from your cardiovascular exercise, your pace/speed just wont match.