The sun is shining, the birds are singing -- it's the perfect time to get outside and exercise. Though you likely won't be battling your way through snow or rain, summer presents its own unique considerations when it comes to stepping foot in the great outdoors.
Take a look at this list of 3 things to keep in mind as you exercise this summer...
Pay Attention to the Heat! Temperatures are soaring around the world, and it's important to pay attention to the impact of the heat on your body. If you can, time your workouts for early mornings or late evenings, when the weather isn't quite so scorching.
If that's not an option for you, consider where you'll be exercising. Find running routes on shaded paths, hikes near streams or rivers, tennis sessions on courts that have umbrellas or other sun shades -- whatever you can do to bring the temperature down a bit.
And, whatever you choose, know the signs of heat stroke. Stop exercising if you ever find yourself near the danger zone.
Hydrate! "Drinking enough fluids is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heat illness," according to the CDC. When you're working out in the heat, it's key to drink enough water before, during, and after exercise. Skip the sweetened drinks like soda and energy drinks, and stick to water, supplementing with sports drinks only if your sweat session lasts several hours.
The CDC recommends drinking roughly 32 ounces per hour when exercising, but not exceeding 48 ounces in that hour. The latter can lead to hyponatremia, which comes with its own set of health issues.
Put on Sunscreen! Before you go outside, cover any exposed skin with sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher, and which blocks UVA and UVB light. There's no need to increase your risk of skin cancer while you're improving your health.
You can check the UV Index to see what conditions are like near you: https://www.epa.gov/enviro/uv-index-search. Remember, you can get a sunburn even on a cloudy day, and UV light reflects off of both water and concrete.
And there you have it -- 3 things to keep in mind as you exercise this summer! What's your favorite way to get moving right now?
Free Handout: 3 Strategies for Summer Exercise
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.