Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

How to exercise safely in hot weather


Here in Colorado temperatures are routinely hitting the high 90s.  We have low humidity, but it still feels $#@%! hot.  I have personally had heat exhaustion in my younger, stupider days when I mis-estimated how long a mountain bike ride was going to take.  Here are some tips on having a good workout in hot weather.

  • Watch the humidity! Humidity + Hot = consider inside work out.
  • Try to work out in the early mornings and evenings when it is cooler.
  • Drink a couple of cups of icy, slushy water before your work out.
  • Wear light colored, moisture wicking clothes.
  • If you have a hat on, dump a bunch of ice water in it and then put it back on.
  • Wear sunscreen. A sunburn raises the body temperature.
  • Stay hydrated and make sure you have enough water with you.  (This was my mistake when I did a long hot mountain bike ride at altitude with minimal water with me.)
  • Get used to the heat.  Start by exercising for a short time in the heat, increasing duration of work outs gradually.
  • Pay attention to the color of your urine. Sorry folks, but this is a great barometer! It should be color of pale lemonade.  If it is darker than this, you need more hydration.
  • For longer work outs (more than an hour) consider a dilute sports drink to replace electrolytes.
  • Don’t be a hero. Stop and go inside if it is too hot.

During my fateful bike ride, I finally pulled over, unable to go any farther.  My husband had to ride to our truck and then came and got me. I have never felt so thirsty in my life. I also learned that I will always carry enough water –instead of relying on my husband.

An early Camelbak, ugly but functional

An early Camelbak, ugly but functional

I got my own Camelback, and always take it.  The one I got  at the time was not as fancy as the picture. It was navy blue neoprene. But man, did I love it! I got it when I was a medical resident, and the $30 I paid for it was a lot of money for a young resident!


Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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