Heat and Exercise

Pace yourself

Understand that your energy levels will not be the same in the middle of the day. Realize that as the heat increases, so will your fatigue levels. There is a ton of power in planning your day just a bit more carefully. If you’re stuck inside without air conditioning, have the foresight to strategically take breaks throughout the day in order to let your core temperature fall. If you are an older adult, it may be a good idea to carry a portable phone with you, either in your pocket, walker, or fanny pack. Generally speaking, you’ll want to take breaks about 4x more often than normal. If you normally exercise for a bout of 60 minutes, you’ll want to take a 2-3 minute break every 15 minutes. Sit down, have something to drink, and take a breather. You’ll be surprised how much more energy you have at the end of the day!

Replenish electrolytes

As you sweat, your body dissipates its electrolytes. Electrolytes help maintain heart rhythm, muscle contractions, and balance in your body. They are extremely important for reasons of hydration, and water alone will not do the job. It is imperative to replace electrolytes during hot summer months. One way of doing this is through a sports drink (i.e. Gatorade.) However, let it be known that many times sports drinks are filled with too much sugar. You may want to consider watering them down with a 3 parts ‘water’ to 1 part ‘drink’ ratio.

Remember cumulative exercise

Did you know that the American College of Sports Medicine currently states that cumulative exercise reaps 90% of the results of continuous exercise? That’s right: if you exercise for 5 minutes at a time 12x/day, you’ll reap 90% of the benefit of exercising for 1 hour straight. Seems really achievable, right?! Knowing this, why rush? One single bout of heat stress could set back your workout routine for a week, if not longer. It’s not worth it. You may even want to divide your exercise into the beginning and end of the day so that you can avoid the heat of the day all together. Remember cumulative exercise.