I was shooting an exercise video on the beach this week in 90-degree heat. I got on a roll and forgot about the time. Less than an hour in I started to swoon. Not a good shot on a fitness video. I realized immediately what had happened; I’d gotten so involved I forgot to drink water between takes. Dehydration causes so many summer exercise accidents because it creeps up on you just like it did me. So here’s my take on keeping yourself water safe in summer.

Our bodies are about 60 % water, and that water plays a role in just about every bodily function. We could go a month without food but we can only live a few days without water.

If you exercise outdoors, you may notice that as the weather gets hotter you have trouble keeping up your usual pace. Actually your body is telling you to slow down and you need to listen! Water helps to deliver oxygen to your muscles and prevents your cardiovascular system from becoming over-taxed.

It takes about 2 weeks to get used to exercising briskly in warmer weather. You need to acclimate slowly to higher temperatures. Here are a few pointers to help you do that.

When you exercise in the heat you can lose up to five cups of water per hour. So it’s important to drink water before, during, and after vigorous exercise. The rule of thumb is to drink 2 cups of water a couple of hours before you start exercising so you are fully hydrated. Then a cup of water every 15 minutes or so while you are exercising. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Remember to bring that water bottle with you!

But you’re not done yet. You need to drink another 2 cups over a two-hour period after exercise.
Sounds like a lot of water. It’s not. It’s just making up for the water you lose when you exercise in the heat.

Give yourself a break. Try exercising if you can when it’s cooler, early mornings or late afternoons when the sun is less direct. Try finding shady areas.

Instead of keeping up your brisk pace for the whole workout, break it up. Go at normal pace for a bit, do a short light interval and then pick up your speed again.

Wear light colored, comfortable fitting clothes. Avoid tightly woven fabrics that don’t breathe. And don’t forget the sports sunscreen.

Send your questions to askmirabai@movingfree.com

About the Author:

Mirabai Holland M.F.A. is one of the leading authorities in the Health & Fitness industry, and public health activist who specializing in preventive and rehabilitative exercise for women. Her Moving Free approach to exercise is designed to provide a movement experience so pleasant it doesn’t feel like work. www.movingfree.com