How To Exercise in the Heat

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Don't hike at the hottest hour... and hydrate!
Don’t hike at the hottest hour

Several years back I ran into Jennifer Garner at Sanctuary Resort. She was in town shooting a movie and had just hiked Camelback, baby on her back and all. The shocking part: It was the middle of summer and the middle of the day, and her face showed it. She was beet red. I gave her a little tsk, tsk under my breath. It was way too hot for hiking, especially with a kiddo. A couple of days later I heard a news report that she was hospitalized for heat exhaustion. No surprise there.

That said, you don’t have to put your outdoor workouts on hold just because we’re in the triple digits – you just have to be smart about it. Here are 5 tricks I use to keep from overheating…

Workout at the crack of dawn
Workout at the crack of dawn

Exercise in the wee hours. If you’re going to tackle Squaw Peak, do it in the morning when it’s a tad cooler. Don’t pull a Jennifer Garner and hike in the afternoon. And make sure you check the weather forecast. The heat usually peaks between 3-5pm, which is when you should avoid outdoor exercise. That’s when you’ll find me in the safe comforts of air conditioning.

Drink a ton of water. I play sand volleyball all summer long. Yes, I drink plenty of fluids between bumping and spiking, but I also “Camel up” – meaning I make sure I’m super hydrated well before my feet hit the sand. This preps my body for sweating, our body’s natural cooling system.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Get wet. Water is your friend in the summer. If I’m hiking, I soak my hat first to keep my head cool. If I’m playing volleyball, I shower between games to cool off.

Dress appropriately. I avoid dark colors which can absorb the heat, and stick with lightweight, light-colored clothes. A brimmed hat or visor is also a must.

Know your limits. I should mention that I’m prone to heat stroke. As a kid, I passed out playing back catcher in little league when it was barely 80 degrees outside. Now I know my over-heating signs – extra red face, chills, lightheaded, muscle cramps – and as soon as I feel any of them coming on, I sideline myself.

Rest if you start to get overheated
Rest if you start to get overheated

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