Can I Still Work Out During This Heatwave?

The heat this summer has been epic, and we still have all of August left! The heat index was 119 last week in Minneapolis, where I live. This alone would have been bad enough, but I also had an outdoor workout scheduled that day, leaving me with a decision to make: call it off or stick it out? (It couldn't be moved indoors.)

Just because Jillian Michaels says she sometimes runs on treadmills in the sauna doesn't mean it's a good idea. Yet people have been living and working outside in non-air-conditioned weather for centuries, so our bodies should be able to adapt, right? I decided to go for it and an hour later, I was sweatier than I'd ever been in my life (and also really happy I'd done it). Now that the heat wave has taken over the East Coast too, lots of active people are asking if it's safe to work out in such extreme temperatures? Experts say for a healthy adult it can be, as long as you take certain precautions.

1. Drink, drink, drink. Water's not enough. When you are sweating this much, you need electrolytes too. Splurge on one of those fancy exercise drinks or make your own and chug it often.

2. Soak yourself. Sweat is your body's way of cooling itself and you can help that along with water. I incorporated a sprinkler into my workout.

3. Time your workout right. Early morning will be much cooler than the afternoon so try to avoid the worst heat of the day and pick a time where your area will be shaded.

4. Dress for success. Wear cool, light colored and, if possible, high-SPF clothing.

5. Use common sense. No workout is worth dying over (and heat stroke can be deadly) Take it easy and if you even start to feel nauseous, dizzy, faint, or have a rapid heartbeat, then quit immediately and get indoors. This is not the time to "push through."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles