For most people, summer is the best time to hit the gym for their daily workouts. It’s just too darn hot to work out under the bright sun, especially if you live in a very humid region of the country. But did you know that working out in the heat and humidity can actually be good for you? If you want to get seriously fit, it may be a good idea to train this summer OUTSIDE the gym…
Training Outdoors = Better Endurance
Most of the time, there is no difference between training in the outdoors and in the gym. You can get an equally effective workout no matter where you are. All you have to do is push your body hard, and you’ll see the results.
But, during the heat and humidity of summer, training outdoors can have an effect on your body similar to the effect of training at high altitudes. A study published in Frontiers in Physiology found that people who train in summer perform better at endurance exercise.
The reason that summer training improves endurance is due to the fact that your body has to produce more red blood cells in order to adapt to the heat. By increasing the red blood cell production, your body is able to carry more oxygen and nutrients throughout your body with each heartbeat. At the same time, your body has to send more blood to the surface of your skin in order to cool off. This leads to more efficient heart function, improving your athletic performance.
So that’s why you should train this summer! Spend more time working out away from the air conditioning of the gym, and the summer heat and humidity will seriously improve your fitness. Your body will be able to use more oxygen per breath, leading to more efficient muscle and cardiovascular function overall.
The Dangers of Summer Training
Now, while it’s clear that there are benefits to training in the heat of summer, you have to be aware that there are some very real dangers at the same time. These dangers include:
Heat stroke — The hotter the weather, the harder it is for your body to release the internal steam generated by your exercise. Too hot, and you could pass out.
Dehydration — Sweating drains the water from your body. When you sweat a lot more at the beginning of your workout, you can run out of energy well before you reach the end of training.
Fatigue — Excess heat and perspiration can be exhausting, making it harder for you to finish your workouts. Even if you do manage to complete the training, you will be more exhausted as a result.
A very important thing to remember when training in summer: drink lots of water! Most of us have gotten into a habit of only drinking a small amount of water before and during our workouts, but if you do that, you run a risk of heat stroke and dehydration. It’s vital that you get enough water to keep your body hydrated through the workout.
Half an hour before you start your workout, drink a glass or two of water. This will help you to start your workout already properly hydrated. As you sweat and burn calories, continue to sip water from your bottle during the workout. And ALWAYS have a few glasses of water after your workout. Include them in your protein shake or drink them on their own–it’s vital that you replenish lost fluids after your summer workouts!