5 Tips for Exercising Safely in the Summer

3 min read  |  August 23, 2023  | 
Disponible en Español |

Hot summers in Miami are nothing new. But with this year’s record stretches of 100-degree days, 2023 is on track to be the hottest on record. When you’re a devoted fan of outdoor workouts, this scorching heat can really turn your fitness plans into a sweaty mess. 

Luckily, Kristopher J. Paultre, M.D., a family medicine and primary care sports medicine specialist with the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute, says there are plenty of ways to continue your exercise routine even in the hottest of summers. Here’s what he recommends:

  1. Wake Up Early
    Take advantage of the coolest temperatures which typically occur around 6-7am. Get your outdoor workout finished before the sun gets too intense. The cooler morning temperatures and weaker sunlight make early morning the optimal time for runs, walks, cycles, or paddles.

  2. Acclimate
    Avoid shocking your body by suddenly training in hot weather. Training in the heat can make you stronger and more fit, but it’s dangerous to jump right into it. Dr. Paultre advises that you reduce the length or intensity of your workouts (or both) as you get used to higher temperatures. He says with a gradual approach, you may be able to build up your tolerance as the summer months continue.

  3. Protect Your Body Inside & Out
    Both the sun and heat can take their toll on you when the temps creep above 100. Shield yourself from the sun’s rays by wearing light, breathable clothing, UV-blocking sunglasses, and broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen. 

    Of course, hydration is always key while exercising, and this is doubly true when it’s hot outside. Dr. Paultre says there isn’t really a magic formula for hydration, other than drinking when you begin to feel thirsty. Watch for signs of dehydration like dry mouth, dry eyes, or darker urine, which mean you should drink more water.

  4. Listen to Warning Signs
    Dr. Paultre recommends taking a break if you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, or dehydration. Go somewhere with air conditioning, relax and drink plenty of water.

    “Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are very real possibilities at this time of year, so you need to listen to your body and know when to stop for the day,” he says.

  5. Give the Indoors a Try
    Dedicated outdoor exercise enthusiasts may roll their eyes at treadmills or indoor trainers. However, considering the heat and humidity of a Miami summer, it may be wiser and safer to give all the great indoor training options another look. The latest treadmills and cycling trainers have virtual experiences that feel like running or riding in beautiful places around the world. Plus, you can cross-train at the gym to keep muscles strong and avoid injuries, even in the summer heat.

    “Remember, it’s usually only a few months that you have to sacrifice exercising outdoors,” says Dr. Paultre. “In the summer here, it’s just a lot safer and more practical to embrace your indoor exercise options, and then you can get back out there in the fall.”

Wyatt Myers is a contributor for UHealth’s news service.

Tags: Dr. Kristopher Paultrie, exercising in the heat, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, summer excercise

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