As Mangalorean we experience hot and humid weather most of the months in a year. But don’t blame the weather for not being able to keep yourself fit, healthy and in shape. Sure, you can exercise year-round inside.
Heat can be a problem if you’re not careful, particularly in areas with extreme heat and humidity, biggest problems being staying hydrated and maintaining your body’s electrolytes and salt.
If you don’t drink enough water, you can get dehydrated and suffer from light-headedness and nausea. If not recognized, dehydration can even result in kidney failure and or, in extreme cases, death. However, if you drink too much water without replenishing your electrolytes, you can experience hyponatremia. This can lead to confusion, nausea, muscle cramps, seizures or even death in extreme cases.
You may not be racing in the desert, but there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the heat:
- The time of day is important: Unless you are training for an event that takes place in the daytime heat, avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s the hottest part of day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it’s going to be scorcher that day.
- Wear loose, light-colored: The lighter color will help reflect heat, and cotton material will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed, “hi-tech” running shirts and shorts. They are often made from material meant to keep you cool.
- Wear Sunscreen with good SPF: Use SPF 45 just to be safe. It’s important to protect your skin. You can get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin even on cloudy days.
- Drink water all day, not just before or after your workout: Staying hydrated will help prevent some of the symptoms you may experience from exercising in heat such as dizziness, stomach cramps, and headaches. During your run, sip four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Take a cold shower: I know it seems a little odd to shower before a workout, but the cold water will cool you down. Leave your hair wet and pop it in a bun, so when you head outside water dripping down your face and neck will feel refreshing. If you have short hair, carry a water bottle with you and squeeze a little on top of your head whenever you need a little cooling boost.
- Exercise in cooler places: Hit the trails in shady woods or along a breezy beach shoreline. It can be 10 or more degrees cooler than the sunny streets in your neighbourhood.
- Shorten or split up your workouts: Summertime isn’t the best time to push yourself, so if you can only handle 10 minutes at a time, do what you can, or exercise twice in one day. Sometimes. Change up the type of workout to fit the temps and Slow down your pace
- Do indoors: Now is a good time to take advantage of a monthly membership at an air-conditioned gym. Can’t afford it? Burn calories by working out with video guide on your computer or iPhone, jumping rope, running up and down your stairs, or doing strength training routines at home. If you need to get out, speed walk in the mall.
Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous.
And in the rain: It’s a real fun exercising in the rain. In Mangalore, we are blessed with long rainy season. It’s so exhilarating to feel a little sprinkle on your skin while out for a run or bike ride. But if it’s thundering and lightning, head home quick.