It can get pretty hot around here, even in the fall and spring. That makes exercising or being active outside a little more dangerous or uncomfortable. Whether you walk, run or bike in the heat, you need to do it safely. While the summer is the hottest, those unusually hot days in the spring and fall can give your body a shock, since it isn’t acclimated to the heat. It can be challenging to ride in the heat, but here are a few ways to make it safer.
Stay hydrated and carry extra water with you.
When it’s hot, you sweat, and it’s even more obvious if you’re active. Dehydration is dangerous. Your body sweats as a means of cooling yourself, but it’s often difficult to gauge how much fluid you lose. If you’re taking a route that has several places to stop for more water, it’s not as urgent that you carry several bottles with you—based on the length of your ride. However, go supplied with extra fluid for longer rides in less commercial areas. Freeze a bottle of water or two and carry them along. Have one unfrozen bottle handy to sip on frequently. Take enough water along you can pour some on yourself to cool off if you become overheated.
If you’re starting out early in the morning and it’s cool, layer your clothes. The layers should be lightweight and made of wicking material that breathes. Wicking material won’t leave soaked and sticky at the end of your ride. The color of your clothing is important, too. It should be light colored to reflect the sun. Make sure your riding clothes fit well and avoid shorts or tops that can cause chaffing. A pair of fingerless gloves created to use on hot days is important to have.
Choose the time you ride wisely.
Plan your trip around the weather. Avoid riding in the hottest part of the day if the weather forecast record highs. Get up early and start your ride or plan it in the evening, where it’s warm, but you aren’t fighting the rays of the sun. The roads are often less busy early in the morning or right at sunset, so you’ll have fewer hazards with traffic. Early morning and early evening are also quieter, making your ride more pleasant.
- If you’re riding your bike in the early evening, take along a lightweight windbreaker or jacket, just in case the weather cools dramatically. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- While the summer heat is a danger, so is overexposure to the sun. Liberally apply a sunblock or sunscreen to the front of your legs, face, arms and any other exposed areas.
- Know the type of road you’ll ride and watch out for slick areas. Rain isn’t the only thing that makes roads slick, melted road surface can get slippery and tar gets sticky.
- Always, leave an itinerary if you’re going off the beaten path, are riding by yourself or will be gone longer than a few hours. Email your itinerary to a family member and call them when you get home to let them know you’re safe.
For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness