How to Stay Cool While Exercising in Excessive Heat


This summer has set many weather records.  How are you coping with the heat, so you don’t fall prey to heat stroke?

Here’s a list of things you can do to stay cool while doing exercises that are outdoors, like:  running, walking and hiking.

For those who love outdoor exercise, try these things that can keep you cool during your workout to protect your health and to avoid heatstroke_.  Heatstroke is really dangerous, says Carlin Senter, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and primary care sports medicine physician at the University of California, San Francisco. “You can suffer multiple breakdowns in your organs – kidney failure, heart arrhythmia or cardiac arrest.”_

  • If you haven’t exercised in a long time, give yourself time to catch up and get used to the temperatures and returning to exercise.  Generally, it takes time to reach this point, so gradually increase your workout while intensifying your strength and stamina routine.  This way you will get accustom to your work out in the heat gradually.
  • Heatstroke can make you dizzy and confused, so always carry a phone and water.
  • Check the weather report to be sure you know what to expect, temp-wise, and what essentials you need to carry with you to stay safe.  According to the National Weather Service, we should also watch for humidity as well.  In August 2003, a European heat wave claimed 50,000 lives.  Humidity causes us to not sweat properly, so our bodies can’t cool down, so look for a shady area to cool off if you feel the heat causing dizziness or confusion.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and carry water with you, to stave off heatstroke or some other heat-related injury.
  • Clothing plays a really important role in keeping you cool.  Choose from loose fitting clothes, light colors to deflect the sun from your body.  Tight fitting clothes will not allow you to release the sweat you need to, to stay at the correct temperature.  You can also find wickable athletic clothing in socks, shirts, shorts and other exercise gear.  Hats with a large brim will also protect your head and facial skin from too much sun.
  • Midday sun is really intense and can cause skin dangers like, melanoma and other skin cancers.  Avoiding the strongest heat of the day is dangerous so plan you exercise for a different time of day.
  • Wear water-resistant sun block to protect you while you’re outside in the sun_.  Use broad-spectrum sunscreen – meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays – with a sun-protective factor (SPF) of at least 30, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends._
  • Some of us are very diligent when it comes to keeping up with our workouts, so always have a plan B, so you can continue to work out, but indoors, like at a mall, or in your own home.
  • Working out on the beach is a wonderful way to do your routine, it’s important to be careful on the beach, because it is much more difficult to do.  Sand is a type of surface that you sink into making walking, running and hiking more challenging, so be sure you are up for it so you don’t injure yourself.
  • Most importantly, discuss your exercise plans with your doctor to be sure that what you have chosen to do is something that will not create more health issues and injuries or heat exhaustion.

While exercising this summer use some of these helpful tips to protect your workout and health.


Cool Tips for Exercising Outdoors

See More Helpful Articles

Tips for Preventing Heat Stroke

Summer Heat and High Temperatures Increase Stroke Risks

Heat emergencies prevention

Heat emergencies overview

Protecting your Heart in the Summer Heat

_Pam is a patient educator and digital health writer who has worked for Remedy Health Media on their osteoporosis web site since 2008.  Pam is also a group leader and moderator with the National Osteoporosis Foundation Inspire online community since 2012, answering questions and guiding members who are newly diagnosed with bone loss**.** _