Many athletes out there are working hard and pushing themselves to be in the best condition for their upcoming seasons. While it’d be nice to work out in a cool, air-conditioned room or facility all year long, it’s not realistic. More importantly, it won’t fully prepare you to play sports outside in a warm/hot environment.
Here are a few bullet points to consider, so you can protect yourself while working out in the heat.
Are you properly hydrated?
Check the urine color chart. This is an easy and helpful reference to see where you are at the moment.
Here are more specific hydration guidelines to focus on leading up to, and during, your workout:
- Before training – Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before training. Drink another 7 to 10 ounces 10 to 20 minutes before starting your training.
- During training – Drink 6 to 12 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes.
- After training – Drink 16 to 24 ounces for every pound lost.
Keep your electrolytes up
Sports drinks like Gatorade are traditionally used and are helpful for long-duration workouts to help maintain an electrolyte balance. No sports drink available? Here’s a quick easy to make drink to maintain your electrolyte levels: Add a pinch of Himalayan sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice to 16 to 24 ounces of water.
Another way to keep your electrolytes up is to add electrolyte-rich foods into your routine. Here are some examples (note: this list is not exhaustive):
Wear lighter clothing/light-colored clothing
Darker clothing will tend to absorb heat more than lighter-colored clothing will. Be mindful of what you are wearing as you get ready to head out for that long run.
Build yourself up to acclimate to the heat
While it would be ideal to work out early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the height of the day’s heat, the schedule doesn’t always work out so perfectly.
Don’t go out and kill yourself if you have done little to no training outside. Take several breaks if needed and take your time building up your intensity. It’s always better to play it safe.
Most importantly, don’t exercise or continue to exercise if you feel ill.
Heat illness is nothing to play with, so come prepared and be mindful of the steps listed above to protect yourself.