My top 5 tips for staying cool when it’s hot outside. [UPDATED]
It appears as though spring, or at least the truly spring-y temperatures have abandoned us here in the Northeast (and now in Colorado). At the same time the humidity has been pumping and making for sweaty workouts and horrible hair days. This is a list of my top five ways to stay hydrated when the mercury begins to rise. This is by no means a complete list so I would love to hear what tricks and tips you have in the comments!
1. Run early. This is kind of a “duh” tip but it’s one that tends to slip by. Obviously, since the sun has been down for quite some time, the air and the surrounding ground has cooled off a ton from daytime highs. On top of that, if you’re going for the same theory by running in the evening, keep in mind that the ground as well as pavement and the like retains heat that will be radiating right up into your face. So, set your alarm from about 5 AM, grab some quick breaky and hit the bricks!
2. Hydrate! Again, kind of a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many of us neglect our hydration. Muscles need water to operate efficiently (or at all) and when it’s hot out, your body is constantly losing water by way of sweating in its attempt to stay cool. There are MANY ways to carry water with you when you run; from hydration packs to belts to just carrying a bottle. One way or another, STAY HYDRATED! Yes, you may sweat like crazy but sweat is how your body cools down so embrace it!
3. Wear a hat or visor. That’s it, wear a hat or visor. Keep the sun off your face and the sweat out of your eyes.
4. Plan your route. If you’re running long, or if you’re not someone who wants to or likes to carry hydration, plan your route with those things in mind. I will often plan my route to include known water fountains. If I’m somewhere unfamiliar, I’ll also carry $5 so I can stop by a convenience store and grab something to drink if I need to.
5. Replenish your electrolytes. As I mentioned above, your muscles need water to work, however, the water needs electrolytes to actually be absorbed by muscle cells. Think about it like this: muscle cells are a cup turned upside down. You can dump as much water as you want on the cup but it won’t hold anything. Now, when you add electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium) that cup gets flipped the right way and it can “absorb” water. In fact, just drinking water will actually wash away many of the electrolytes you already have so it’s that much more important to replace them. The more efficiently your muscles work, the less heat they produce, the more efficiently they (and in turn, you) work.
6. If you REALLY run hot, try an ice pack on areas like your wrist, neck, armpits or (shudder) groin. these areas are where blood vessels are close to the skin so that blood can get rid of some heat before cycling back through the body. There are a number of products on the market (none of which I’ve tried as of yet) that address this. Here are a few:
What do you do to stay cool during workouts when it’s hot outside? Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below!