Summer conditions can make exercising outdoors a challenge, but that’s no excuse to skip your workout. Warm weather can make for a great workout – if you proceed with caution and exercise smart. These tips will assure that your fitness regimen is safe, healthy, and enjoyable:
Exercise Early. The hours between 10 AM and 3 PM are most intense for sun and heat. If at all possible, kick off your early morning with exercise. Temperatures will be more pleasant, and it’s a safer time for sun as well.
Use Sun Protection. As always, outdoor activity necessitates a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher on all exposed areas. Try an oil-free formula if breakouts are a problem. Don’t forget to protect lips with a lip balm of SPF 15 – SPF 30 is even better. Polarized sunglasses cut down on damaging glare to the eye area, while a hat can protect the scalp, face, and neck. Last, consider protective athletic clothing with SPF built right in.
Hydrate. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout. If your exercise is intense, consider a beverage with electrolyte replacement. Otherwise, good old-fashioned water should do the trick.
Made in the Shade. Exercise in a shady area if available. For instance, choose a tree-lined jogging path over an exposed track. This will not only offer your skin an additional shield from the sun, but will help to keep your body from overheating.
Check the Forecast. If the day calls for extreme temperatures, ozone alerts, or general poor air quality, consider moving your workout indoors.
Listen to Your Body. If you start feeling unwell during exercise, listen to your body and stop. Getting in a workout isn’t worth heat stroke – or worse.
With a few precautions, summer exercise in the great outdoors can be beneficial, safe, and fun. Just remember: The American Academy of Dermatology advises that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer over a lifetime. Protect your skin when in the sun with appropriate SPF, and enjoy a lifetime of healthy skin.
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