If your city is hit with rising temperatures, be aware of the hazards: 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.
Work out in the shade
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
During the colder weather months, it’s recommended to train as much as possible in the middle of the day to catch a little sunlight (hello vitamin D!) and to take advantage of the warmest time of day. In contrast, for those warm weather months, you should avoid training at this time 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.
Wearing functional clothing is key for exercising outdoors. If you are training in warmer weather, we recommend materials that dissipate the sweat and keep you cool through ventilation, as well as more tight-fitting clothes to reduce friction. Clothing should also cover a large part of the body to protect against insect bites and sun rays.
For those cold weather days, try to follow the well-known “onion principle”, which suggests you dress in easy-to-remove layers to allow for changes in body temperature. It’s easy to underestimate temperatures, especially when you’ve spent the day indoors, so plan ahead and make sure you have enough layers.
Your head is particularly sensitive when it comes to both hot and cold weather. When the sun rays are blazing, make sure to protect yourself either with a cap or visor. This will help deflect some of the heat and, at the same time, offer some protection to the eye area. As with clothing: A hat or cap should fit well and securely.
If you are heading out on a cooler day, a hat or ear warmers are a must. Since you lose 20% of your body heat from your head, this outerwear item is a definite essential. Don’t forget to add gloves and warm socks as well!
In summer, our skin is heavily exposed to the sun’s UV radiation throughout the majority of the day, even in shady areas. Therefore, consistent application of sunscreen is strongly recommended when you’re heading outdoors. But this protection isn’t limited only to those warm weather days. While you may not feel the heat as strongly, the sun can cause adverse problems in winter as well, so make sure to add it to your training regime. The risks posed by sunburn are known to everyone, and prevention of sunburn should be taken absolutely seriously.