April 3, 2014

It’s April and though we have not seen it yet, warm weather is just around the corner. This means many of you will be breaking the somewhat monotonous routine of running inside on the treadmill and taking your workouts outdoors. It is important to remember that although exciting, Mother Nature can also be relentless at times. When planning to perform workouts outside, here are a few helpful tips.

  • Stay hydrated. This is a must. You should make sure you have a glass of water or two before you go exercise. If it is possible to bring water with you, it is a good idea to take a few drinks every 15 minutes or so. Also don’t forget to hydrate once finished. After completing your workout grab another drink.
  • Acclimate to the new temperature. With the way the weather has been this year it is quite possible we could go from relatively cool to extremely hot quickly. It is important to make sure your body has acclimated to warmer temperatures. You body actually changes the physiology of things such as how much you sweat based off immediate past experiences. Sometimes it can take up to 2 weeks to acclimate to exercise in warmer temperatures.
  • Choose your time wisely. When you are planning your workouts during warmer months it is important to remember temperature differences can be drastic from morning to late afternoon. Watch the forecast and plan to workout in the morning of after the sun goes down on extremely hot days.   
  • Wear light, breathable clothing. In the heat, the more skin you have exposed the better (to an appropriate extent). Remember the act of sweating isn’t what cools us during exercise. It is the cooling effect of sweat evaporating off of our skin into the atmosphere that lowers our skin temperature. Clothing that is lightweight, light in color (to reflect sunlight), and breathable will make a vast difference.
  • Remember sunscreen. It has been a grueling winter this year. Chances are you have not had much sun exposure for quite some time. Remember to protect those sensitive areas when you start to exercise outside (definitely shoulders and legs).
  • Listen to your body. If you begin to get a headache, feel lightheaded, or nauseous stop immediately and try to find some shade and water. These could be a sign of heat exhaustion. 

As long as you are safe, exercising outdoors can be a great addition to your routine. Use these helpful tips and you should be able to safely move your regimen outdoors and continue your progress to a better more fit you. Have fun and see you out there.

By Ryan Mason, CSCS

This article was published in Healthy You, the monthly online newsletter from UK Health & Wellness.