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8 Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat

  • 5 min read


by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

The summer heat can be really harsh, and working out in hot weather can be pretty unpleasant. There are many heat-related risks, like heat stroke, dehydration, and heat exhaustion, that are common during this season. But you must continue your plan to reach your goal because of the heat.

What you can do here is take precautions.

Training in hot weather can put your body under a lot of stress, so you need to understand how to do it safely.

In this article, we will give you some effective tips for exercising in the summer heat.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program, changing your daily nutrition, or adding any supplements to your regimen.

8 Tips for Training in the Summer Heat

Here are eight ways you can stay safe when exercising in the summer heat while having a great time.

1.     Stay hydrated

The best way to exercise safely in the heat is hydration before and while you are working out. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink fluids. Help your body sweat and cool down by drinking as much water as you can.

According to research, it is recommended to consume 16 to 24 ounces of water every couple of hours before working out. Avoid taking salt tablets as it increases the risk of dehydration.

Do not drink very cold water as it may lead to stomach cramps.

In addition to that, avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, or drinks with a lot of sugar in them, such as soda. These types of drinks can cause you to lose fluids.

2.     Time of the day is important while working out

To stay safe during hot weather workouts in the summer heat, it’s wise to avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest part of the day, typically from 10 AM to 3 PM.

Instead, aim to schedule your workouts for the cooler hours of the morning or evening when temperatures are lower. This reduces your risk of heat-related illnesses like heatstroke and heat exhaustion.

By planning your exercise routine around the cooler times of the day, you can enjoy your workout while minimizing the impact of the heat.

3.     Take it easy

In hot and humid climates, it’s important to listen to your body and know when to ease up on your exercise routine, especially during the summer heat. You may find that you’re unable to exercise at your usual intensity, and that’s perfectly okay.

However, if you have any underlying medical conditions or take prescription medications, it’s essential to consult with your physician before engaging in physical activity during hot weather. They can provide guidance on any additional precautions you may need to take to stay safe while exercising in the heat.

4.     Clothing is important

Light-colored clothing made from thinner, synthetic fabrics is ideal for exercising outdoors in the summer heat. Darker colors, like black or navy blue, tend to absorb more heat and can make you feel hotter.

Layering your clothing allows you to adapt to changing temperatures by removing layers as needed. This approach helps you stay comfortable and regulate your body temperature more effectively during your workout.

5.     Keep track of hydration levels

Monitoring the color of your urine is a reliable method to gauge hydration levels. Pale yellow urine indicates adequate hydration, while darker urine suggests the need for more fluids.

To maintain hydration during workouts in the summer heat, aim to drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes. This helps prevent dehydration and ensures optimal performance during exercise in hot weather.

6.     Don’t eat too much before workouts

When exercising in the summer heat, avoid consuming a large meal beforehand.

Digesting food demands energy and generates additional body heat, diverting blood flow from the muscles engaged in exercise. Simultaneously digesting food and engaging in vigorous activity can cause digestive discomfort, leading to a less enjoyable workout.

7.     Avoid sports drinks

Sports drinks may seem appealing, but they pack a caloric punch that may not be worth it. Consider sports drinks only if you’re at an ideal body weight and engage in prolonged, high-intensity exercise. Even then, dilute them to avoid excess calories.

Fruits and vegetables offer electrolytes during exercise, reducing the need for high-calorie beverages. Muscle cramping is often due to dehydration rather than low electrolytes, so prioritize hydration with water during and after exercise, regardless of thirst.

8.     Understand your limits

Pay attention to your body’s signals when exercising in the summer heat. If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous, or fatigued, take a break.

It’s better to rest than to push yourself too hard and risk illness or injury, which could sideline your workouts completely.

If the summer heat makes your usual high-intensity workout too tough, try breaking it into smaller sessions throughout the day. This gives your body time to recover without compromising your fitness goals.