It’s almost the end of June and hot weather is here to stay for at least another three months. As the temperature and humidity continue to rise most of us will take our training indoors, however this doesn’t mean we should completely stop training outdoors.
Gulf News spoke to John Karpathakis Head trainer F45 Training Dubai Marina and lululemon ambassador. He also has a Bachelor’s of Science in Physical education and sports science.
“Training in hot weather improves our ability to regulate body temperature, increases sweating and blood flow through the skin and expands blood plasma volume, allowing the heart to pump more blood to muscles and organs as needed,” He told Gulf News. “However there are certain risks involved, as training outdoors in the summer can be very strenuous and cause heat exhaustion and even heatstroke.”
Here are his top 5 tips when it comes to training outdoors in hot and humid climates like ours:
1. Get acclimated
If you’re not used to training in hot weather take it one step at a time and keep your first few workouts short in duration and low in intensity to give your body time to adjust to these extreme conditions. As you get acclimated your body will learn to dissipate heat more efficiently.
2. Avoid the sun
Try to train early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperatures are a bit lower. Try to stay mostly in the shade.
3. Wear proper clothing
Choose lightweight technical fabrics with sweat-wicking properties and avoid dark colours, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses. My favorite is the Metal Vent Tech Sleeveless 2.0 and Pace Breaker Short 7" Linerless.
4. Protect your skin
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen with a high SPF factor to protect your skin from the sun. It’s a good idea to apply it at home before heading out.
5. Stay hydrated
Make sure to have enough fluids and electrolytes before, during and after your workout. Staying hydrated will help you avoid heat illness.
Avoid training outdoors in hot weather if you have a heart condition or other medical risks.
Stop exercising and try to cool your temperature if you feel any of the symptoms below:
What it's really like exercising outdoors in 40 degree heat
Before working out outside in Dubai's summer months, I usually check the weather. If it's a high humid day, I usually try and avoid it. Otherwise, it doesn't feel so bad when humidity levels are low.
Since I am not a morning person, I choose to exercise at around 5pm. The sun is low and it's a bit more breezy. I usually go to Media City Park. With lots of trees around, it's a shaded enough place for outdoor workouts. This park is also home to a little man-made lake, which has a track around it, perfect for walking or running.
At first, it took a while for my body to get used to the heat, but once I was outside for longer than five minutes, it becomes a bit more comfortable. The heat becomes 'normal'.
I usually wear a cloth mask when exercising and never the N95 mask, as it could cause serious problems if you wear this heavy-duty mask and are performing any strenuous movements, especially outside. So I opt for something that's a bit more breathable.
I warm up by running around the lake and will usually be super sweaty afterwards. The benefit of outdoor exercise especially in this heat is the fact that you sweat almost immediately.
Benefits of sweating:
- Detox of heavy metals
- Elimination of chemicals
- Bacterial cleansing
I then do some HIIT exercises on the grass. Squats, short sprints, kettlebell swings and strength exercises with resistance bands.
Then onto the matt for some ab workouts. Doing a plank in this heat does wonders. Then some Russian twists and V-sit ups.
By the end of the workout, I am usually soaked and it feels good. I always remember to drink a lot of water and a little extra that day when I get home since I know I sweat most of my body water out. I am always so careful not to get dehydrated.
Why is it good to sometimes exercise in the heat?
Generally working out in hot weather will improve your body's ability to cool itself. You start to get used to self-cooling, so you don't need much to cool down.
Exercising in hot conditions also causes an increased blood flow to your skin, which means better, more glowy and healthier skin.
Additionally, you will have better circulation in your body. The blood will be pumped to all of your extremities. Something that helps your body achieve optimal health.