10 Summer Fitness Tips
Summer is the season of outdoor activities. Whether you love to hike, swim, or ride your bike, summer is the perfect time to go outside and just have fun. Here are some ways to stay safe in the summer sun—no matter what activity you enjoy.
1. Drink lots of water.
This is the #1 tip on every summer safety list—and for good reason. Staying hydrated in the summer heat is essential to preventing heat stroke and dehydration, and staying healthy. If you wait to drink when you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Stop what you’re doing to take a drink regularly, and make sure you have access to plenty of water.
2. Wear sunscreen.
Always wear sunscreen outside—even if it’s cloudy or you’ll “only be out for a minute.” No one likes getting sunburned. Even if you don’t sunburn easily, using sunscreen is important to protect yourself from skin damage and potential skin cancer. Pick something with an SPF of at least 15. And remember to reapply–especially after swimming, excessive sweating, or toweling off.
3. Know the signs of heat stroke.
You can get heat stroke if you’re outside too long in the hot sun, dehydrated, or exposed to high temperatures for a long time. If you’re outside and start feeling nauseous, light-headed, and confused, or if your heart is racing and you feel over-heated, stop what you’re doing and call 911.
4. Work out in the shade.
Staying out of direct sun can help protect you against heat stroke and sun damage. If you want to go on a run or ride your bike outside, choose shaded areas with lots of trees. Also be sure to choose times when the sun and heat are not at peak times, such as early in the morning or late evening. This will help prevent becoming overheated and allow you to get more work done.
5. Restrict your workouts to early morning and evening.
The sun is strongest between 10am and 5pm standard time. It’s safest to plan your outdoor activities around these hours so that you miss more of the UV rays. Instead of going out when the sun is at its peak, try working out in the early morning or evening. Or head indoors or to the pool for a change of pace.
6. Wear light-colored clothing and a hat.
Light-colored clothing helps keep you cool by reflecting heat—so save your dark garments for fall and winter, when you want that warmth. Depending on what you’re doing, it can also be a good idea to wear a hat with a wide brim to make your own personal shade.
7. Keep up your electrolyte intake.
Sweating a lot—and drinking a lot of water—can lower your body’s electrolytes. If you’re exercising for more than an hour, it’s important to replenish your electrolytes to help maintain your body’s fluid balance. Bring a sports drink, energy bar, or electrolyte tablets outside with you to replenish on the go.
8. Go swimming.
Swimming is a great way to stay fit and enjoy the summer heat. If you swim a lot during the summer, it’s not as important to stay cool, but make sure you stay hydrated! Even swimmers need to drink regularly. Be sure to take regular breaks to rehydrate and prevent becoming overheated in outdoor pools.
9. Get the kids involved.
Getting the whole family involved in summer fun is a great way to start building fitness habits that will last through the year. Go swimming, hiking, or cycling together, or find a team sport that you can all play while the kids are out of school. Just be aware of the heat and humidity in your area, and plan for short trips with frequent stops.
10. Take your social life outside.
Rather than meet friends over a drink in the air conditioning, why not get together for a hike or swim instead? Summer sports are a great way to connect with friends—and maybe even meet some new ones!