There are always safety guidelines and measures to understand and adhere to before engaging in any physical activity; this is especially true whenever you start a workout. However, when you are dealing with record breaking high temperatures, there are even more levels of concern to address with any form of activity, especially physical exercise.
You have heard it before: Arizona is a “dry heat.” Some say they don’t notice the drastic swing in temperature because of the lack of humidity. However, with daily temperatures ranging from 110 to 120 degrees, it is a similar sensation if you were to stand inside a pre-heated oven—it gets hot! Pay attention to these specific tips and notes – Courtesy of the Center of Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy – for the next time you plan to work out in the extreme heat of an Arizona summer:
Time of Day
Knowing when to start your workout can be half of the battle. Understand that the later in the day you wait to start your workout, the higher the temperature level will be when you are exercising. Normally, the hottest part of the day in AZ is between 10am to 3:00pm. It is suggested that earlier is better when it comes to your workout.
Understanding how the sun can affect your skin is something to know well before you plan to spend the day in the sun. For example, if your sunscreen doesn’t protect against both UVA and UVB rays, you aren’t as protected as you might think! Also, because you are exercising and will be sweating, you will need to reapply sunscreen more often.
Clothing and Color
As you may already know, light colors reflect heat while dark ones absorb it. Keep that in mind when you select your workout clothes. Keep the colors light and the material breathable. Cotton helps with the evaporation of sweat. Some companies have even introduced hi-tech material like “Dri-Fit” on shorts and shirts, which is designed to wick away sweat and keep you cool.
When exercising, it is very important to stay hydrated. Exercise depletes your bodies fluids, and drinking water and sports drinks like Gatorade replenishes those fluids. Think of fluids in your body as gas to your car. You can’t drive with an empty tank; therefore, you cannot work out without fluids. Take a drink every 15 minutes, and when you are done, have a few glasses of water for good measure.
Salty foods hurt your fluid levels and dry you out. Before and during exercise, try to avoid salty food or drinks. Keep it simple with water. Gatorade is good as well because it provides electrolytes, which are important for recovery after your workout.
Based on what your workout calls for, the location of your workout can vary the weather extremes as well. Granted, if you have a built-in gym, there is not a lot of moving around you can do. However, if you plan to go for a jog or a run, choose wisely. Try avoiding the sun as much as you can; maybe look for shaded areas, as well as any buildings blocking out the powerful rays. Swimming in a pool is a great way to work out and beat the heat by keeping your skin wet and preventing your whole body from being exposed to the sun.
Listen to Your Body
It is admirable to push through pain and to keep grinding. However, your body isn’t an infallible machine. Eventually, you need rest and to give yourself a break. If you feel dizzy or weak, stop immediately—you have done enough.
Like previously mentioned, it is always important to work out properly. When dealing with unique scenarios like record temperatures, use this article to refresh your memory and your body in the process.