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Workout Tips for Exercising in the Heat

Girl running through a field

Physical performance in a hot environment can be compromised in three basic ways. Increases in your body’s core temperature reduce the endurance capacity of the muscles, increase the body’s reliance on carbohydrate for fuel and compromise many aspects of cardiovascular function. As you get used to the heat, you’ll be able to train harder and tolerate the heat better. Here are some helpful tips from the Women’s Sports Medicine Center:

  • During your first hot weather workouts, cut back on your exercise duration or intensity. Start low and go slow!
  • Protect your skin from UV exposure. Always apply sun block (SPF 30) and lip balm with SPF protection.
  • Avoid exercising at the hottest times of the day. Try early morning or evening. Pick a training route or exercise area that provides lots of shade: parks or tree-lined streets. Consider an air-conditioned facility on scorcher days.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Monitor your heart rate and slow down if your pulse is higher than your target zone or if you don’t feel good.
  • Train with other people when it’s extra hot. They’ll notice if you’re in trouble, even if you don’t.
  • Know the symptoms of heat stress: nausea, dizziness, headache, chilling, muscle cramps, extreme breathlessness and a reduction in sweat rate. Stop exercise, get cool and rehydrate.

Topics: Performance
The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.