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🔥 Your guide to exercising outdoors (safely) during summer in Charleston

Don’t sweat it — we’ve got 5 tips on training in extreme heat and humidity.

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Don’t let Charleston’s extreme heat detract from your weekend warrior plans.

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One thing is for certain: The Holy City has been heating up. And whether you’re an amateur fitness enthusiast or an all-star athlete, these dog days of summer make working out outside extra challenging.

So, how do you (safely) exercise outdoors on 90+ degree days?

Step 1: Acclimate. Joel Gatchell, Roper St. Francis Healthcare Athletic Trainer for Charleston Southern University’s Track & Field/Cross Country program (and a former runner himself) told us it takes about two weeks to acclimate to exercising in the heat if you’re completely new to working out outdoors.

Once you’re acclimated, follow these five safety tips that Joel gives his athletes (and any weekend warriors not letting the sun stop them from their Saturday run on King Street):

☀️ Time of day matters

The sun is at its peak around midday (read: the temperature + UV levels are at their highest). Avoid exercising at this time of day, and instead, aim for early in the morning or late in the afternoon to keep from overheating.

🎽 Choose clothing that keeps you cool

When it comes to the ‘fit, skip cotton and dark colors. Go for clothing that provides good ventilation to help avoid feeling heavy (due to moisture absorption, because, well, you’re sure to sweat).

Pro tip: Dri-fit clothing is moisture-wicking and designed to keep you dry. This is Joel’s go-to clothing material for training in the heat because it lets the body breathe.

💧 Hydration is key

Bring that water bottle, y’all. Give yourself breaks in between your outdoor workout session to hydrate + cool off the body. Joel recommends taking a water break at least once every 30 minutes. Most importantly, know your limits.

🔥 Know the signs of overheating

As a trainer and former athlete, Joel has plenty of experience dealing with heat-related health conditions, ranging from heat exhaustion to heat stroke.

If you’re planning to sweat outside, be aware of the six common signs of a heat-related illness:

  1. Feeling “heavy”
  2. Excessive sweating
  3. Cold and clammy skin
  4. Nausea
  5. Dizziness
  6. Disorientation and balance issues

If you do notice signs of a heat-related illness, try to bring your core body temperature down by seeking shade, applying ice to the neck and armpits, and, if possible, submerging your body into a cool bath while waiting for help.

Joel advises anyone exercising in the heat to seek shade after a workout and to end the workout early if needed — because keeping yourself (and your loved ones) safe during these hot + humid summer days is the most important thing.

Poll: Do you exercise outside during the summer?

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