If July and August in the United States were summed up in one word, that word would be humidity. For about 90 days of the year, the vast majority of the country is stifled under a combination of heat and moisture, resulting in a continuous flow of sweat and the need to apply oodles of deodorant.
Translation: it’s MISERABLE.
But just because there are a few extra degrees out there, doesn’t mean your workout life has to suffer significantly. In fact, exercising in hot weather can actually be beneficial to improving your fitness—if you handle it the right way.
Researchers have found that cyclists who train in hot conditions improve their performance by around 7%.
The key is not to overdo it, or else this kind of training can have very negative effects, like heat stroke. It’s wise to relegate yourself to no more than 60 minutes at a time, or possibly less, just to stay safe.
Even though experts claim that 60 minutes is the minimum length of time to truly acclimate your body to heat, don’t be crazy and push yourself too far.
As doctors point out, when your body’s internal temperature climbs, your heart starts to beat about 10 beats faster each minute with every one-degree increase. In other words, your heart is working harder, pumping out more blood to work your muscles. Not to scare you, as this is a natural process that will result in your body being in improved shape.
That being said, here are some measures you must take to ensure you’re not starving your body of nutrients and water.
Firstly, stay hydrated. Duh! But seriously, the importance of this step can’t be stressed enough. If you must, don’t be afraid to carry around a 1 gallon jug of water, making sure to drink it throughout the day.
Secondly, surround yourself with nutrients. Drink healthy smoothies, eat plenty of yoga and fruit, and don’t eat anything too salty before a workout—this can lead to dehydration.
Thirdly, apply sunscreen when necessary. Even if you’re able to physically handle the heat, your skin is a different story. Between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm, your body is most susceptible to the Sun’s brutality, making sunscreen an absolute must.
And lastly, wear lightweight clothing. This should be obvious, but still, it doesn’t hurt to remind you.
So as you can see, working out in the heat and humidity is actually more doable than you might have imagined. The key lies in your preparation process.
For those who want to try a different kind of calorie burn, there’s always this:
— Hugh Hanley (@hughhanley) February 14, 2013