Whether you're working out on the beach, a trail, or just around your neighborhood, you're likely feeling the heat of summer right about now. Just walking to your car leads to beads of perspiration on your brow, so how are you supposed to make it through actually running in heat and humidity?
Before You Go: Check the Weather
Heat-induced illnesses — including heat stroke and heat exhaustion — are potentially life-threatening and can be extremely dangerous if precautions are not taken. Make sure to pay attention to more than just the temperature. Know the heat index (HI), which combines the air temperature and humidity, and indicates how hot it actually feels outside. You will also want to pay close attention to the UV index to determine your risk of sun exposure.
*While you’re at it, check the Air Quality Index (AQI)!
Does Running in the Heat Burn More Calories?
Yes, heat and running can lead you to burn more calories because the body sweats more and has to work a lot harder than it normally would in milder temperatures. But you have to take precautions to ensure that you take part in summer running safely.
Tips for Running in the Heat
- Wear cooling clothes. It can be surprisingly tough to dress for exercising in heat. The oppressive temperature suggests as little clothing as possible--tank tops and shorts, perhaps. But the punishing rays of the sun and their imminent threat of skin damage may mean that covering up is the best route. Fortunately, workout clothes nowadays are pretty high-tech and can help you regulate temperature and keep you dry no matter how much sweat you produce running in hot weather. You don't need to worry about the burden of extra fabric protecting your skin when that fabric is lightweight and hot weather-approved! New clothing that you feel great in might even help your performance—when we feel better, we do better!
- Double-down on sun protection. This one’s obvious, but bears repeating and repeating again. Protect yourself from the damages of UV rays with a sweat-proof SPF and consider wearing apparel rated to a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+. Running in the sun can boost mood and provide much-need vitamin D, so we don't want you to shy away from outdoor workouts altogether. But make sure you're taking the proper precautions when it comes to sun exposure.
- Water, water, water. Another obvious hot weather staple. Staying hydrated helps the body regulate temperature and stave off serious heat-related illnesses. Consider adding in an electrolyte supplement (like Gatorade), as well, to replenish all that salt you're losing.
- Run during the coolest points in the day. Generally speaking, you should not run if the temperatures exceed 98 degrees outside. If it’s safe to head out, consider running at the time of day when it’s coolest — around dusk and dawn, usually — and try to stick to a route that provides ample shade.
- Know the signs of heat stroke and pay attention to your body. If you feel any heat exhaustion or heat stroke symptoms, stop running immediately and seek medical help. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, confused, or stop sweating, your body may be having trouble regulating its temperature, which can lead to serious issues.
*If you take your dog on runs with you, keep all of these things in mind for Fido, too! And don’t forget to check the temperature of the concrete or asphalt so they don’t burn the pads on their paws. An Armpocket phone band will help keep you hands-free and your phone protected while you're juggling leashes and treats. Not to mention it's sweat-proof! So when you're soaked from an afternoon of running in the heat, your phone and other essentials safely tucked away in your Armpocket won't be!
Enjoy the warm weather responsibly and don’t stop running!