Staying fit is a challenge for many persons especially when it is extremely hot. Whether you are living in the United Arab Emirates where the average summer temperature can be near 52 °C (126 °F), or any other country with significantly high temperatures, one must be cautious and creative when working on staying fit. There are some safety considerations that must be taken to ensure that your workout programme produces the end results you want while keeping you safe. Some key areas to focus on include staying true to standard best practices such as obtaining clearance by a medical doctor, knowing the limitations of your body and setting realistic and obtainable fitness goals in your fitness plan. When living in extremely hot climates, additional safety precautions must be considered.
One of the most important components of any fitness programme is hydration. In extremely hot climates, the importance of continual consumption of water to replenish fluids lost from exercise and provide the body with the needed substance to rebuild after a strenuous workout is crucial to your success and safety. Working out in hot conditions increases your body temperature, as such, it is important to become aware of the symptoms of potential heat exhaustion and the right steps to take if you or someone is showing these signs.
Below are a few steps to take in order to stay fit in hot temperatures. Please, keep in mind that these tips require careful planning and time management:
- Check the weather forecast for the days that you are planning to be active. Take into consideration the time you wish to start your activities and the duration of the activities that you have in mind. If you are planning an afternoon run, it is important that you know the expected temperature at specific times of the afternoon, so as to dress appropriately in order to stay cool.
- Ensure that you always have access to water to stay hydrated.
- Plan your workout for cooler time periods, such as late evening or early morning, which can go a long way in protecting you from the heat.
- Consider using an indoor facility. This can be a private gym, a public facility, or one provided by your employer. If you can find a cool place to complete your workout, it will not only protect you from the heat, but also become a good place for some added support from social interactions.
- Not everyone may have access to public or employer operated facilities. A good option is working- out in the comfort of your own cool home. There are a number of free, highly effective workout routines that can easily be accessed online that could help you.
- Finally, opt for participating in water activities such as swimming, water skiing (with training), or others that will allow you to stay fit while remaining cool in the heat.
Do not allow extreme heat to prevent you from participating in quality exercise that will help you to get fit and stay fit. It is always wise to do some research and/or to speak to a specialist (coach/gym instructor/ personal trainer) who may be able to guide you. Remember to plan carefully, stay hydrated and be committed to your workout programme in order to achieve the best outcomes.
By Dr Thomas Gamboa Jr., Ed. D