5 Tips for Safe Summer Workouts

Athletes posing for summer workout in park

When you practice a healthy lifestyle and exercising is part of your daily habits, chances are you look forward to moving those workouts outdoors as soon as the weather warms up.

Outdoor summer workouts are not only energizing and fun, but they also offer a new twist on an otherwise standard routine.

North Carolina routinely sees summer temperatures well into the 90s, and the higher the temperature, the more likely a heat-related illness or even sports injury may occur. Before you run outdoors, check out these five simple tips for safe summer workouts!

Plan Ahead

Set yourself up for a successful workout by planning ahead. You can lower your risk of things like dehydration and heat exhaustion simply by being smart about the time of day you workout. Try working out in the early morning or late evening, when temperatures are typically at their lowest for the day.

In addition to planning your workout session when it’s cooler, it’s also a good idea to set a timeframe for your workout. Whether you want to spend 30 minutes or an hour on your routine, having a set time helps make sure you don’t wing it and end up overdoing it in the summer heat.

Finally, be sure you plan ahead by telling someone you trust that you’ll be exercising outside that day. Letting them know your location and for how long you plan to exercise is just one more safety precaution to put in place. That way, in the event of an emergency, someone knows where to find you. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone out with you, in addition to whatever workout supplies you need.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

When you’re working out in the heat, there’s no such thing as drinking too much water. Staying hydrated is key to making sure your body isn’t losing more water than it’s taking in, and drinking cold water helps regulate your temperature while also replenishing the hydration your body needs to be able to continue exercising. It’s important to drink, even when you don’t feel thirsty. If you need reminders to pause and take a drink during your routine, put alarms on your cell phone to signal that it’s time to take a sip from your water bottle before continuing on.

The more water you drink, the better you’ll feel. You’ll also rest easier knowing that keeping hydrated means the risk for serious heat-related injuries is lessened.

Dress for Success

We all know dark colors are slimming, but when you’re picking what to wear for your workouts, pull out those light-colored, lightweight options! Lighter colors help reflect the sun, and moisture-wicking fabrics are especially wonderful for drawing sweat and heat off the body, therefore helping it to stay cooler, longer.

Also, while some exercise moves may not allow it, wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sports cap helps protect your scalp from sunburn and also keeps your body temperature lower. When you can, wear a hat! You’ll be glad you did.

Break Out the Sunscreen

Remember when you were a child and your mom was constantly chasing after you, smothering you in sunscreen every chance she got? Well, turns out mother DOES know best. Anytime you head outdoors, you’re at risk of getting sunburn, which in turn ups your chances of getting Melanoma. Even on days when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, ultraviolet rays can still get to you. It’s important to apply a layer of sunscreen, no matter what the weather is like, before you begin your outdoor workout.

Invite a Friend to Join You

Everything’s better with a friend, right? Not only is working out with a friend enjoyable and has the added benefit of accountability to your personal health goals, when you’ve got someone else by your side, you’ll feel good knowing that you’ve got help in the event of any type of heat-related illness or an injury.

Whether you simply need a shoulder to lean on in the event of a minor sprain or you need someone to drive you to the nearest medical center in case of an emergency, the buddy system is great for maintaining peace of mind while you work out.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body better than anyone else. Make sure that during your workout, you pay close attention to how you feel along the way.  Be sure you know the signs of heat exertion and heat stroke. Cut your workout session short if you experience any of the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Intense/Uncontrollable Sweating
  • Prolonged Increased Heart Rate
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue

If symptoms are severe, or in the event of an emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

Need Help for a Sports Injury?

North Carolina routinely sees summer temperatures well into the 90s, and the higher the temperature, the more likely a heat-related illness or even sports injury may occur. Did you know LeBauer HealthCare now offers sports medicine services at the new Horse Pen Creek office, as well as the Elam office? Our board-certified sports medicine physicians treat all types of sports injuries and can provide guidance on prevention of injuries and heat-related illnesses. Make an appointment with LeBauer sports medicine today, and start planning for a safe summer!  

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