Taking your workouts outside is an enjoyable option during the summer. But exercising in the great outdoors is not without hazards that you don't encounter in the gym. Here are some tips for when you exercise outdoors.
1. Protect Yourself Against UV Rays
Sunglasses aren't just for casual wear. You'll need a quality pair for working out in the bright sun because over-exposure to ultraviolet rays can lead to serious eye problems, such as cataracts and glaucoma. Make sure your sunglasses have both UVA and UVB protection.
2. Get Used to the Heat Gradually
It can take a week or two to get used to working out in 80- or 90-degree weather. Start with lighter workouts (or train early in the day) and listen to your body. If you get tired more quickly, or experience a headache or dizziness, get out of the sun immediately.
3. Carb Up
Load up on complex carbohydrates the night before a hot-weather workout. The sugars of complex carbs will become glycogen, which helps your body retain water.
4. Beware of Animals
Being active outdoors (such as hiking or trail running) in the Amarillo area can put you at greater risk of encountering scorpions, rattlesnakes, and the like. If you're hiking, wear tall boots and thick socks, and use a stick to tap the ground in front of you. If you opt to carry antivenins with you, be sure to check with your doctor first in case you're allergic to them.
5. Protect Your Skin
Never leave home without applying sunscreen to all of your exposed skin. Give yourself 30 minutes to let the chemicals bond with your skin. Reapply after a few hours. Don’t rely on “sweatproof” or “waterproof” sunblock.
6. Always Hydrate
Even slight dehydration can raise your heart rate and decrease its efficiency. Experts advise drinking 16 to 32 ounces of water before you go outside, as well as having water with you during your workout. If you’re hiking in Palo Duro Canyon, heed the signs. There’s a reason the Lighthouse Trail advises to bring one quart of water per person.
7. Take Antioxidants
Some studies have shown that taking vitamin C and E can help protect against sun damage.
8. Beware of Pollution
When ozone and carbon-monoxide levels are high (consult a local weather report), consider working out indoors instead.
9. Heat Stress is Cumulative
If you exercised in hot weather yesterday, you're more susceptible to heat-related problems today, even if the weather is milder. Switch up your workouts by alternating between indoors and outdoors.
10. Beware of Humidity
When it's humid, your body doesn't sweat as efficiently. Warm, humid weather can affect you as much — or more — than hot, dry weather.
Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts can help you reach your health and fitness goals effectively and safely. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.