Just about every Northerner you meet who now lives in Charlotte likes to chat about the weather. And, can you blame them? The city sees an average annual high temperature of 70 (amazingly comfortable) degrees.
But somewhere along the line, they forgot to talk about the average summertime temp—a swampy 87 degrees. In fact a new study just ranked Charlotte as “America’s Sweatiest City.”
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to keeping up with your fitness routine this summer:
Don’t think you’ll burn more calories exercising in the heat. In fact, you will burn fewer calories no matter how hard you work. Overheating kills muscle cells and causes kidney failure—among many other health detriments. To keep you safe, your brain limits access to your skeletal muscles when you are in a hot environment. Even though you sweat more exercising in the heat, your calorie burn will be lower.
This is why we keep the studio between 66 and 68 degrees (the opposite of Bikram or any heated fitness class) in the spring and summer. When you are cooler you can do more work, and burn more calories even though you won’t sweat as much.
Do know the signs. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and listen quickly. If you try and gut your way through the warning signs, you could do serious harm to your body. The signs are: muscle cramps, nausea, headache, fatigue, irritability and/or confusion, dizziness, and rapid heart beat. If you feel any of these while in the sun, it’s time to go inside, cool off and rehydrate now.
Don’t forget humidity. One of the reasons Charlotte was rated as “America’s Sweatiest City” is because it’s humid down here. Sweat only effectively cools you off as it evaporates. However, if the air is already saturated with water (it’s humid AF), then your sweat doesn’t evaporate efficiently—making you stay hot. Humidity is as (if not more) important as heat when it comes to your safety.
This is why we have a high capacity dehumidifier going on our studio all Spring and Summer. Helping your sweat evaporate ASAP helps you work harder even though it seems like you sweat less.
Do be careful with drugs. The decongestants we take for summer colds, and the antihistamines we take for allergies can interfere with your ability to cool yourself. Don’t forget alcohol. Just because your buzz is gone doesn’t mean you are back to normal and fully hydrated.
Don’t forget common sense. A big part of staying safe in the heat is common sense: drink ice cold water (being hydrated in general); wear light-colored and breathable clothing; find shady places to exercise; and work out early or late in the day to avoid the peak heat.
You may also like these summer fitness articles:
- Summer Road Trip Survival
- Great summer recipes like this, this, and this… can’t forget about this.
- Summer Vacation Survival Guide
- Last but not least, if you need a boost getting back into shape after a summer of (too much?) fun, check out our 10 Day Spark Program.