Sweat in the City: Stay Cool

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As pointed out in today’s Opening Number, today marks the 18th day this summer where temps are above 90 degrees. With that evil heat index, we’re looking at 100 degrees and then some. We’ve officially hit hell status…at least it feels that way.

But being the active, fitness-conscious city that we are, many of us are still lacing up our running shoes to pound the pavement, climbing on our bikes, or attending outdoor fitness classes despite the awful temperatures. Want to know how to stay safe out there? I have some tips that will help keep you safe and cool in our constant heat waves.

1. Avoid the mid-day heat. The sun is the hottest between 10am and 3pm. Be flexible and move your workout to either early in the morning or later in the evening. Despite the quickly rising humidity, air quality is much better in the early morning. Whatever you do, don’t go out for a lunchtime run when the temperature hits 80 degrees and above. It won’t be pretty.

2. Dress lightly and appropriately. Avoid cotton and wear light colored, moisture-wicking clothing. While the brims of hats will keep you cool and protect your eyes, visors are actually better for extreme heat because it lets air escape from your head. And never, ever skimp on the sunscreen. I’m a big fan of the sport spray waterproof sunscreens – they don’t wear off with sweat and it’s super quick and easy to apply.

3. Check your ego at the door. When temperatures go up, speed goes down. If you find that a running or biking pace that normally feels really comfortable suddenly feels awful, don’t push it. Feel free and empowered to take walking breaks. No one is going to judge that.

4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Don’t be a hero and think you don’t need water in this heat. Yes, carrying water bottles on a run can be combersome, but it’s a hell of a lot better than passing out from heat stroke. If you’re attending any of the fun free fitness classes offered around town, bring a BIG water bottle and fill ‘er up. Sip often and slowly – don’t gulp.

5. If all else fails, take it inside. There are times when the temperature is just too damn high and you can’t workout outside without compromising your health. When the temperature hits 90 without even considering the heat index, hit the gym. They’re air conditioned and comfortable – which is a lot better than lots of places right now.

Other ways to stay cool this week:

*I am not a medical professional, so don’t take my advice as medical recommendations. All of my tips are common sense. Seriously, if you feel ill or dehydrated, seek medical help. This heat is no joke.