At this point, the majority of American adults prefer outdoor physical activity, according to a survey by fitness app OnePoll. verve last year. Among the 2,000 participants, it was found that 75 percent of men and 51 percent of women prefer to exercise outdoors. Part of this is a side effect of the pandemic, but that’s probably not the only cause. Research also suggests that exercising in nature provides additional health benefits: studies have found that Exercising outdoors increases your level of physical activity, while making workouts easier. It will also reduce your stress and cortisol levels, while boosting your mood and self-esteem.
But unlike indoor workouts, extreme temperatures of any kind, plus other weather factors such as HumidityThey should be taken into consideration when it comes to outdoor exercises.
How does exercising in the heat affect your body?
“During exercise at higher temperatures, the body does a great job called thermoregulation, which is the body’s ability to maintain its internal temperature within a safe range,” Heather MeltonCSCS, a board-certified clinical exercise physiologist at NYU Langone’s Sports Performance Center, tells us about the Well + Good Program.
Every time you sweat, it is an indication that your body is regulating the temperature. Another sign, Melton says, is increased blood flow. “The two combine to cause higher heart rates to perform the same amount of work than in a temperate environment,” she explains.
You’ll likely have experienced this on your own if you’ve tried hot yoga or Pilates and felt more challenged than if you had done any of the exercises in an unheated room. For this reason, it’s possible to train your body to regulate itself better by increasing the intensity of your workouts and conditioning your body to perform at higher heart rates, says Allie McKinney, personal trainer at Gold’s Gym. “The better we are at thermoregulation, the more effective we are with our workouts,” she says. “Like any other kind of stress, adapting and overcoming the intensity of these workouts is something we have to come to terms with. We can use this same technique when working out to train at higher temperatures.”
Conditioning can only take you so far, because there comes a point when your temperatures can rise so high that your body can’t regulate itself thermally.
How hot is it that you can’t exercise in the heat?
Every body responds to heat differently depending on how it uses the higher temperatures. But we should all pay attention when the thermostat goes above 90 degrees, according to Milton. Exercising in temperatures above 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit can increase the risk of heat exhaustion, which occurs when the body is unable to maintain proper blood flow to all organs. And the skin for thermoregulation at the same time,” she says. Signs of heat exhaustion include fainting, fatigue, and an inability to exercise, she says.
Signs of heat exhaustion include fainting, fatigue, and an inability to exercise.
At about 92 degrees, your internal temperature will be about 98.6 to 105 degrees, Milton says, and that’s about the final range for exercising in the heat without risking heat stroke. “[Heatstroke] It is more serious and is associated with a collapse and dysfunction of the central nervous system – confusion, dizziness, irrational behavior, etc. This situation requires immediate cooling,” Milton warns.
The best way to avoid such symptoms is not to exercise in very hot weather. This may mean choosing to exercise earlier or later in the day, not when the temperatures are at its hottest, or to stay inside an air-conditioned room. But you also want to make sure that you prepare your body before, during and after outdoor workouts to make sure it can regulate your internal temperature as much as possible.
How to prepare your body for exercise in the heat
In short: hydrate. “Before exercising, always drink 2 glasses of water, then during activity, try drinking 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes, and always drink again after you’re done,” Jennifer HeathMD, a leading cardiologist and director of cardiology and obstetrics at New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital.
Because one of the primary ways to cool off your body is by sweating, you lose water through your skin. The other thing you’re losing, Haythe says, is electrolytes—sodium in particular. “Sodium is one of the essential minerals that the body needs to complete basic cell processes.”
Reducing the consumption of water or sports drinks with electrolytes is one way to replenish your reserves. “Just be wary of your sports drinks that are loaded with a lot of sugar,” warns Haythe. “Always check the label and look for drinks that provide 14 grams of carbohydrates, 28 milligrams of potassium, and 100 milligrams of sodium per 8-ounce serving.” Bananas, beets – also help.
In general, “for every pound of weight you lose due to perspiration, replace it with at least a pint of water,” says Melton. “You may need to drink up to 20 percent more fluids than usual.”
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