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Five Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat

Published on June 24, 2014 by Virginia Women's Center

Even though the temperatures in Richmond have surpassed the 90 degree mark, you don’t have to let your exercise routine get sidetracked. With careful planning and prevention, workouts can continue in the summer heat. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your loved ones if you choose to exercise in the summertime:

Time your exercise wisely: If you’re going to exercise outside, aim to work out in the early morning or the early evening. Avoid the midday hours, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Pick routes that are partially or fully shaded to avoid direct sunlight. On days that are very hot, consider moving indoors to a local gym or shopping mall.

Dress the part: Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. Breathable fabrics, such as cotton, can help sweat evaporate faster to keep you cooler. Sunscreen should be another important part of your workout attire. Learn more about choosing the right sunscreen and applying it correctly here.

Drink up: Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water! Hydrate before, during and after your workout. If you plan to exercise intensely, a sports drink can replace the sodium and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Slow down: Give your body several days to adjust and acclimate to the increasing temperatures. In addition, don’t expect to break your personal record in the middle of summer. Take your time and listen to your body.

Know the symptoms: Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke make up three degrees of heat illness. Heat illnesses can happen to anyone, but the following individuals are at higher risk for developing them: elderly people (65 +), infants and children and individuals with chronic medical conditions.

  • Heat cramps: Intense muscle pains or spasms that may occur during strenuous activity.
  • Heat exhaustion: May occur after several days of intense heat without adequate replacement of fluids. Warning signs include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting or fainting. If left untreated, it can progress to heat stroke.
  • Heat stroke: Occurs when the body’s cooling system fails and if not properly treated, can cause severe disability or even death. Warning signs include: an extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally); red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion and unconsciousness.


Whether you choose to walk, bike or hit the tennis courts, we hope these tips will help you LIVE HEALTHY throughout the summer months.


About Virginia Women’s Center
Virginia Women’s Center is a full-service women’s health care provider specializing in obstetrics, gynecology, urology, high-risk obstetrics, obstetrical genetic counseling, ultrasound, in-office procedures, mammography, bone health, psychology, nutrition and clinical research. The practice sees patients in four locations in the Richmond area and has additional offices in Kilmarnock and Tappahannock. For more information, visit, or find us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.