Be it in the summer or winter: Fresh air draws Free Athletes outside in any weather. However, with rising temperatures in the summer, some hazards may arise: High intensity training raises the heart rate, metabolism and body temperature in a short time and to a very high level. With very high temperatures outside, many athletes experience an increased susceptibility to cardiovascular problems or (in the worst case) a sunstroke. But even less severe symptoms such as nausea, dizziness or cramps may affect your performance. In the following paragraphs, we will give you a few tips for carefree workouts outside, even in the summer.
Work out in the shade
Most athletes do it automatically, others realize it later. Training in high temperatures and when it is sunny should always be done in the shade! However, we often overlook that such workouts also require additional planning. Are there sufficient shaded areas in the planned workout location? How much space do I need? Can I for once switch my usual running route to a forest? In what direction is the sun moving and could it be that my spot will be in the blazing sun just a few minutes later? Planning is essential and can prevent that you have to look for an alternate spot at the last minute.
Evening or morning workouts
Whereas in the winter, it is advisable to train as much as possible in the middle of the day to catch a little sunlight and to take advantage of the warmest time of day, in the summer, it is recommended that you avoid exactly this time of day and move your training to the early morning or evening hours. At these times, the temperatures are more bearable and the radiation exposure from the sun is lower. Early in the morning, the air is coolest and provides a particularly fresh start to the day.
Adequate water intake
High temperatures are accompanied by increased fluid loss due to perspiration. It is therefore advisable to drink about a liter more than usual. Physical performance already decreases with a fluid deficit of 2% of the body weight, because water is our body’s number one means of reaction and transportation. Adequate water intake is necessary to ensure minerals lost in sweat are replaced, as these minerals are necessary for proper functioning of muscles. With mineral deficiencies, cramps are just one of the possible symptoms that may occur. Since the danger of dehydration and cramps during and after training is especially high, it is advisable to increase your liquid intake before training. Since it is not pleasant to train with a tummy full of water, we recommend about two glasses of water approximately half an hour before working out.
Especially in the summer, wearing functional clothing may be useful during exercise. We recommend materials that dissipate the sweat and keep you cool through ventilation, as well as more tight-fitting clothes in order to create minimal friction. Clothing should also cover a large part of the body to protect against insect bites and sun rays.
Your head is particularly sensitive. Athletes should make sure to protect it well when moving in the sun. A cap is ideal to keep away the greatest heat and, at the same time, to offer some protection to the eye area. As with clothing: A hat or cap should fit well and securely.
In the summer, our skin is heavily exposed to UV radiation by the sun and this around the clock and also in shady areas. Even though consistent application of sunscreen in the summer is a general recommendation, we want to point it out separately here. The risks posed by sunburn are known to everyone, and prevention of sunburn should be taken absolutely seriously.
Use of insect spray
Everyone who has experienced mosquitoes, wasps, and flies during training knows how distracting and annoying these can be. Summer is high season for insects. It is therefore advisable to apply an insect repellent prior to working out, and – if need be – to also spray your mat and clothes so that you can fully focus on your performance.