Stay safe during hot weather workouts

While Portland has the reputation for cloud cover and rain, the city has no trouble turning up the heat during the summer months, as evidenced by our current streak of hot weather.

These scorching temperatures can leave you feeling sluggish and tempted to shrug off your daily workouts, which can slow, or possibly stop, your momentum towards your fitness goals. It's important to stay on track, however, and find ways to continue your program while also keeping yourself safe from overheating.

Here are a few tips to help you stay cool and beat the heat:

1. Workout out early in the morning or later in the evening. Avoid the heat of the day whenever possible. Even if you prefer a different time, using the edges of the day during particularly hot spells can help ensure that you keep your fitness habit going until it cools down.

2. Drink water. Your need for water increases dramatically as the temperature gauge rises, so drink up to avoid dehydration. Additionally, pour it on or take a cold shower to help you manage your body temperature. Use a spritzer bottle filled with cool water to mist yourself for more instant relief.

3. Take a dip. Swimming is a great cross training activity AND will help keep you cool. Find some water and get in it. If you sit near an outdoor pool, be sure to wear sunglasses to help shield your eyes from the sun rays reflecting off the water.

4. Dress in light colored, loose clothing. Light colors reflect sun rays. The loose fit will let out body heat while allowing you to benefit from any breeze.

5. Opt for a sun visor or a hat made from a breathable material. The fact that as much as one third of your body heat is lost from your head can be bad during the winter but fabulous during hot summer days. While you may want to shield your face and head from the sun, let that heat escape!

6. Listen to your body. Unless you are training for a specific event, don't worry so much about keeping up with your regular pace when running or walking, just put in the time. If weight training is the goal for the day and you feel weaker than normal, opt for more reps and/or sets with lighter weights or do body weight exercises that can be modified. The important thing is to keep developing the fitness habit. That means staying consistent and, again, putting in the time.

7. Go slowly and be patient with yourself. Give yourself more time to build up your workout momentum. As you acclimate to the heat, you may find your strength and ability increasing. Allow your body time to get in the groove. You may also need to cut back on the duration. This is ok; give yourself temporary permission without beating yourself up about it.

8. Do something new. Go for a hike or bike ride in a new area, preferably with lots of shade. Try paddle boating, rollerblading, or indoor rock climbing (with air conditioning). Hot weather is a great time to try something new while staying active. As you learn you'll tend to exert yourself less since you need to slow down to learn the new area or master new techniques.

9. Slather on the sunscreen. Protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet rays to decrease your risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen can also form a shield against the sun to make you feel cooler during exercise.

10. Learn how to workout at home. One of our philosophies at Wildfire Fitness is that you CAN workout anywhere, anytime. With just a little space, creativity, and little or no equipment you can get a great workout while standing in front of your fan or in an air conditioned room of your house. Watch some videos, read some books, or contact us if you're not sure what to do.

Keep it safe! According to the CDC, here are signs of impending heat illness:

* An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
* Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
* Rapid, strong pulse
* Throbbing headache
* Dizziness
* Nausea
* Confusion
* Unconsciousness

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Extreme Heat

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