By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
Planning on taking your workout outdoors this summer? Great idea! I’ve always been a big fan of exercising outdoors. The changing scenery can be stimulating, the breezes are refreshing and being out in nature is mood boosting.
But before you head outside, make sure to take the proper precautions so you don’t get burned. Here are four things I do before every outdoor workout:
Plan ahead. If I know it’s going to be a particularly hot or humid day, I plan my workouts for early morning or early evening. That way, I can avoid being outside during the warmest part of the day—between 10 am and 4 pm. If you can only exercise during these times you have a few options:
- Try a water workout.
- Do something in the shade, like a hike or bike ride on a tree-lined route.
- Move the workout indoors.
Protect my skin. I always use sunscreen when I’m out in the sun. Don’t be skimpy with it—you’ll need as much as a shot glass of sunblock to cover your whole body. And don’t forget to reapply every two hours or more if you’re sweating or in the water. You can also wear UV-protective clothing, like a hat or shirt that will help protect your skin.
Drink up. It’s easy to get dehydrated during the warm summer months, and this is particularly true if you’re active. Here’s a hint: Once you feel thirsty, it’s already too late, so be proactive. Have a glass of water before your workout, take a sip or two every 15 minutes during the workout, and drink another glass when you’re done. Remember, you lose a lot of fluids when you sweat, which you’ll definitely do when you’re exercising outside.
Tune into my body. It’s good to push yourself to go a little harder or a little longer, but never at the expense of your health and well-being. I always pay attention to how I’m feeling during my workout because pushing yourself too hard, particularly in the heat, can lead to injuries or illness. If you feel at all lightheaded, dizzy, nauseated, or confused, stop what you’re doing—these are all signs of heat illness. Make sure to rest and drink plenty of fluids to help you cool down.