It's official - summer is here! And it also marks the beginning of hot weather season. If you’re like us, the heat can really take the oomph out of your workout when you’re not prepared for it. But lucky for you, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves to help you beat the heat and keep those workouts top notch.
Tip 1: Pay Attention to the Weather Forecast
We know, it’s not the most reliable thing out there, but the weather forecast is something you should always have an eye on before you head out into the summer heat. You’ll want to see what the weather is going to be like throughout your time outside—especially if you’ll be out for an extended period of time, like for a hike, trail run, marathon training run, etc.
And don’t forget about humidity. When humidity is combined with high temperatures, your body has to work harder to cool you down, sending more blood to the surface of your skin. Read: you’re going to sweat more and still heat up (instead of the moisture evaporating from your skin and cooling you down, it sticks to you and you get even hotter).
TLDR: The combination of heat and humidity adds a level of difficulty to your workout, factor it into your plan for how tough you’re making your workout.
Tip 2: Know Your Body (and When to Give It a Break)
We’re all different, and our bodies react to hot weather in different ways. Don’t do well in the heat? Avoid the hottest parts of the day for outdoor workouts. If you do fine in hot weather, but dehydrate faster than most, pack your largest hydration pack or cut your workout short to account for it. Know what you need to do to have a successful (and safe) workout.
When the heat spikes unexpectedly (or if you’re like us and a little overconfident about your levels of “in shape” right now), make sure to take breaks more often than you normally would. If you’re exercising during a day that’s hotter than you’re used to, your body hasn’t acclimated, so you risk hurting yourself if you push yourself too hard.
If you really don’t want to take a break, just lower your intensity a few notches. Focus on your heart rate and breathing rather than on the speed and intensity of your workout. If your heart rate is within your target, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, you’re still getting a great workout.
One of our favorite tricks? Take your workout to the shade. For us, that means heading to the forest trails, where the temperatures might be a bit lower or they may be the same, but we can hide from the sun. Plus, it tends to force us into a change of scenery—something welcome in a life that can quickly get routine.
Tip 3: Don’t Forget Sunscreen, Water, or Your Warmup
It’s summer, folks, and that means the sun is out more than usual. If you’re not on the “slather your whole body with sunscreen every day” routine, you’d better get used to it. Even when it’s not sunny, the UV exposure can damage your skin and make the next day’s workout uncomfortable, if not impossible. Plus, too much sun exposure dehydrates you faster and can lead to dangerous consequences.
We all know that we have to drink more water when it’s hot out, but it can be hard to know just how much to drink. On a normal day, you should take your body weight and divide it in two, which gives you the number of ounces you should aim to drink during a full day. When it’s hot, and you’re planning to work out, you’re going to need even more. And the key? To drink the majority of your water before you head outside to sweat. The more hydrated you are, the better your body can handle the heat during strenuous activity.
But what about a warm up? Isn’t it a little unnecessary when it’s hot and sticky outside? Nope. Just because the weather outside is warm doesn’t mean your muscles are ready to go at any moment. Don’t be tricked by higher temperatures and strain a muscle. Do your normal warmup and cool down so your body can perform at its best.
Tip 4: Make Your Life Easier with the Right Gear
Sunscreen and water aren’t the only things you need to beat the heat during your summer workouts. Make your life a little easier (and the post-workout version of yourself happier) by gearing up for the weather. Wear light clothing that wicks sweat and dries quickly, and preferably has UPF protective qualities. And don’t forget your scalp when it comes to sun protection. Wear a lightweight hat to keep the sun off your head and the sweat out of your eyes. A great pair of sunglasses tops off your look to protect your eyes.
One piece of gear people may forget during hot weather is their socks. You want to make sure you adjust what you have on your feet to match the weather (and your activity). It’s the same concept as the shirt you wear, right? The hotter the day is, the lighter the fabric you’re going to want on your body. Try a pair that is high performance, lower weight and has sweat wicking capabilities, like the lightweight options from our Run series.
Tip 5: Recognize Signs of Trouble
When it’s hot out, you need to be prepared for anything. And that includes knowing what to do if things start to go wrong. There are various levels of heat-related issues you should be aware of, like heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you start to exhibit any of the following symptoms, it’s important to stop what you’re doing and cool down:
● Muscle cramps
● Nausea or vomiting
● Excessive sweating
● Dizziness or lightheadedness
● Low blood pressure
● Increased heart rate
● Visual problems
You’ll want to lower your body temperature, find shade, drink water, and preferably find someone to sit with you until you start to feel better (or to get medical attention if you need it). The goal is that you won’t need to do any of this, but it’s important to know what to do in a “worst case scenario” situation while you’re out in the heat.
We hope you find these tips useful on your next adventure into the heat. Looking for some great hot weather workout socks? We've got you covered.