Safer Ways To Be Active In The Heat

A woman in shorts running outside with the sun in the distance

(BlackDoctor.org) — When the heat is stifling and the humidity puts the wet blanket on your desire to walk, by all means don’t quit. Take to an indoor track, a mall, or treadmill. Or walk in a pool if you have access to one. Exercising in water provides 12 times more resistance than exercising on land!

Here are more strategies for beating the heat while still being active during the summer months:

Be an Early Bird or a Night Owl

Plan to walk in the early morning or early evening to avoid the steamiest part of the day, which is usually between 10am and 2pm.

Seek Out Shade

Direct sun can make the temperature feel up to 15 degrees hotter! Check your area to see if there are parks with trails through the trees.

Expose Your Skin

Sweat can evaporate more easily from bare arms and legs. Just be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, even under your shirt/top.

Just Add Water

Wet your shirt, and you’ll have on-the-spot air-conditioning!

Ice Your Thirst

Freeze a half-full water bottle, then top it off as you head out. Take sips regularly while you’re walking. Six to eight ounces of water every 15 minutes should be enough. As an extra precaution against dehydration, weigh yourself before your walk and again afterward. If you’ve dropped a pound or two, drink up. You’ve lost fluid that is important to your body’s cooling system.

Cover Your Head

Wear a breathable hat (not a visor—it will only protect your face, not your head).

Switch Shoes

For warm-weather workouts, you need lightweight, ventilated walking shoes and socks that wick away sweat. Mesh is cooler than leather and dries faster when your feet sweat. Or try a walking sandal. You might also get an extra pair of shoes and alternate between them every day so that each pair has a chance to dry out completely. This helps you avoid fungi, blisters—and smelly feet.

Reduce Friction

Be aware of areas where skin rubs against skin—between your toes, thighs, and under your arms—and apply a small amount of petroleum jelly or use Runner’s Lube, a nonstaining cream made from lanolin, zinc oxide, and benzocaine. It can be found in many sporting goods stores.

Listen to Your Body

Your body will tell you when you can push yourself, and when it’s time to coast. If you develop a headache or become dizzy or weak, stop exercising and head for a cool place. Drink plenty of cool fluids, and rest.

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