A pickup game of basketball or an afternoon jog on a sultry summer day could put your health at risk. Under normal conditions, your body is able to adjust to the heat. However, prolonged exposure to rising temperatures makes it harder for your body to keep cool, which puts you at risk for heat cramps, dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
The Mayo Clinic offers these guidelines for warm-weather workouts:
Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, sports drinks and diluted fruit juices. Skip caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea and cola, which increase the rate that water is excreted from your body.
Apply sunscreen before working out. Sunburn decreases your body's ability to cool itself.
Take time to get acclimated to the increased temperature. If you're of an average fitness level, allow four to five days. If you're older or have a chronic health condition, it could take you 10 to 12 days.
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing constructed of breathable fabrics. Roomier garments allow air to pass over your body, which aids sweat evaporation and cooling. Items made of polypropylene wick moisture away from your skin.
Work out early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are typically cooler.
If you have a chronic medical condition or take medications, consult your doctor to learn if these will impact your ability to work out in hot weather.
The Mayo Clinic also notes that young children and older adults should be closely monitored for signs of distress, as they are at greater risk of heat-related illness.