Cruel Summer: Exercising in the Heat

Welcome to summer, y’all! As soon as this irregular northwestern gloom clears, we’ll soon all be sweltering together. While there’s reasonable dread about this time of year, when the air is redolent with honeysuckle and yesterday’s garbage, it can be a time of sweaty enjoyment.

As a personal trainer and the token jock at Freed Bodyworks, I observe the heat as a challenge, not a deterrent, to my hardy exercise habit. Our bodies are built to adjust to the heat, but that magical process takes roughly two weeks. To ease this harsh jump into the heat, I’ve typed up some tips to make your settling into summer a little more comfortable. My hope is to encourage you to enjoy safe, strenuous workouts in the great outdoors, and appreciate the light and warmth of the summer months. During this time, I entreat you to be attentive and patient with your body, and treat yourself as your own most important person.

 Preparing for the Heat:

  1. Start early. Once the temperature starts to creep above 82*F (27*C), and the sun gets higher in the sky, exercise becomes incrementally more challenging. While that adjustment to an earlier start can be … painful, it can be the best way to start fresh. For motivation, I enjoy getting my summer sweat on with the (actually-all-year) November Project, which kicks off its free and magical “hills for breakfast” workout at 6:30 a.m.

  2. Make it easier for your body to cool down swiftly. Wear light, breathable clothes, such that your hard-earned sweat can evaporate as quickly as possible. If your energy is going towards maintaining a regular body temperature, it will be considerably harder to kick out a third set of squats.

  3. Ensure your clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. Like many humans, I experience thigh chaffing in the summer. To make my runs less painful, I wear a light legging to keep my thighs from rubbing together.

  4. Protect yourself from the sun’s mighty rays: apply sunscreen (with an SPF over 15), and perhaps even consider donning a fetching baseball cap for coverage.

  5. Adjust your expectations. During your adjustment phase (ie. now), I’d suggest limiting the intensity of your outdoor workouts. Be prepared for it to take you longer to run a mile, for hills to be more arduous, and for sprints to be more challenging. You’re being a boss just by getting your sweat on — now’s not the time to set your PRs.


    Running with a fury for chips up 15th street for November Project!

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