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6 Ways to Beat the Heat and Stay Active this Summer

Now that summer is in full swing, there’s no better time to take advantage of the beautiful weather – it’s finally here! – and head outside for your next workout.No matter what activity you love – swimming, walking, running or biking – it’s just more enjoyable outside.

But before you head out, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Time it right

Working out in the heat and humidity can stress your body, so choosing the best time of day to get your sweat on is key.

Avoid the hottest hours – usually, that’s between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. An early morning workout is always great, especially when it’s going to be a very hot day. Wear sunscreen (at least SPF 30), sunglasses and a hat, even if it’s cloudy or overcast.

Location, location

Lunchtime might be the only time you can fit in your run or walk. If you know it’s going to be a scorcher, tweak your plans.

If your usual route is on streets with direct sun with no shade, take a different one that goes through some forested or shaded areas. If that’s not an option, but there’s an air-conditioned mall or gym nearby, head there for your walk. Any exercise is better than none at all.

Tweak your activity and your intensity

A hot and humid day is not the time to clock your fastest time or your longest distance. Even doing your usual amount may be out of the question.

Pace yourself and adjust your expectations. Be prepared to shorten your distance or slow your pace as heat and humidity can make vigorous activity more challenging.

Or swap activities. Instead of running or walking, try biking. Even on a hot day, you’ll always feel a breeze on a bike, which helps cool you down. (If you’re in Halifax and are new to biking entirely, you can learn how to ride at the Oval, which offers free bike rentals in the summer. Other communities might offer similar programs – check with your local parks and recreation department.)

Try something new!

Don’t get bored with your activities. If you’re looking for a new place to hike or mountain bike, you’re in luck. Nova Scotia has tons of incredible trails to explore.

Swimming is a refreshing summer activity and the province offers many outdoor options. Many beaches in the province are supervised in the summer. Pick one in your community and give it a shot!

Stay hydrated

Keeping your body properly hydrated is crucial to good health and even more important in the heat as you lose more fluid from sweating. Although thirst is a good indicator of when you need to consume fluid, be proactive and drink more in the summer, especially before exercise. And remember, avoid consuming unnecessary sugar – stick with water!

Listen to your body

No matter what activity you pick, don’t push yourself too far.

If you notice that you’re sweating more than usual, feel dizzy or begin to have a rapid heartbeat, your body may be starting to overheat. This can be an early sign of heat exhaustion, which can quickly become heatstroke.

Stop the activity immediately and head for a cooler environment to rest and drink some water. Contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve within one hour.

What’s your idea of a great summer workout? Share your suggestions or tips in the comment box below.