A large portion of our year here in South Florida is hot and humid. That fact however shouldn’t be an excuse not to get outside and utilize our tropical environment as a great place to workout. The beach is still beautiful, parks still spacious, and outdoor spaces should still be enjoyed. Though the heat and humidity can be uncomfortable, tough, and dangerous to exercise in, here are a few steps to conquer it safely and learn how to embrace the heat of South Florida in the summer.
There is nothing more important than hydrating when it comes to hot and humid conditions. Before I partake in any outdoor physical activity, I begin hydrating early that day (a minimum of 2 hours prior or I won’t even participate in outdoor activities). My typical one hour run hydration consists of a minimum of 32 ounces about 2 hours before a run. I always try to be over hydrated than under. Also, bring water with you to keep you hydrated throughout. A drink high in electrolytes can also help prevent cramping.
Just like any workout, make sure to eat properly beforehand. Always eat 1-2 hours before a workout to allow time for digestion and proper fuel for the exercise. For workouts over an hour in duration, bring some food along as well, something easy to digest like a power gel, sports drink, or my personal favorite, raisins (university tested to be just as beneficial as sports jelly beans).
Time It Properly
Even for the most conditioned athletes, working out midday is sometimes just not the best idea. Temperatures in the high 90s with little wind and high humidity can be detrimental to not only health, but performance. Avoid the hottest times of the day and try to work out when there is at least a little breeze blowing.
Shade can be a rarity in South Florida. It’s not my fault palm trees don’t provide much shade. Find a nice, shady place to workout and it will decrease the temperature dramatically. Even better is when this shade is in an open place like the beach or a park that you still get a breeze to cool you down a bit extra.
Make sure to apply sunscreen at least a half hour before you head outside. This will help prevent sunburns and UV damage. Skin cancer is a real problem in South Florida, so do what you can to prevent it. I also advise to wear a hat and sunglasses to keep you cooler and prevent UV damage to the eyes.
Embrace the Heat
Heat doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you don’t want it to. I personally love running on really hot and humid days. I just make sure I prepare for it properly before I partake in any physical activity. After proper preparation, I have learned how to embrace the hot environment and feel that it makes me stronger in other workouts. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger (just don’t die of heat stroke).
By Sean Spire – a fitness professional, specializing in athletic development, weight loss, post-rehabilitation, and the geriatric population. With a degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University where he was a scholarship athlete in swimming, he currently resides in South Florida where he pursues his passion – helping people live life the way it is meant to be lived. More articles and tips can be found on Sean’s blog – http://www.aspirefitnessandhealth.com/
Photo By anaulin