Perhaps one of the best things about the warm weather is that you can take your workout outside. Unfortunately for some, working out outside means not taking into consideration the challenges that go with a new environment such as being exposed to UV radiation, airborne pollutants, and other elements that they don’t normally face while in the comforts of an air-conditioned gym.
“You can work out outdoors to have a change of scenery in your routine,” says Fitness Mobil Founder and Head Coach Leandro Cabrera. “But just remember that whether training indoors or outdoors, it is always important to have proper exercise and proper progression of training intensity.”
Here are some of the things that you should not do during outdoor exercises and training.
- Not rehydrating. “When working outdoors, make sure to always have cold water available or any sports drink to replenish the loss of fluid during the workout,” says Coach Leandro. “Training under the heat of the sun can be physically demanding and it makes you fatigue faster.”
- Not checking your medications or supplements. Before heading out under the sun to exercise, check with your doctor first as he or she will probably prescribe you medications or supplements that you can use when working out outdoors. Fat-burning supplements often possess diuretics, which can bring about dehydration; alcohol and caffeine also intensify water loss. There are also some antibiotics or antidepressants, including tetracycline and the herb Saint John's Wort, that can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight - even if you're already wearing sunscreen.
- Not wearing the proper attire to protect against UV rays. Never wear your usual clothes while out jogging or running. Although polyester fabrics provide more protection than cotton or that dyed clothing is better than white, these still bring up the heat. Instead, opt for cool sportswear with tight knitting or sunscreen-treated fabrics.
- Not pacing yourself. “Always make sure that you're not overdoing the exercise to avoid any injuries,” says Coach Leandro.
- Not slathering yourself with sunscreen. Much like going to the beach, you need to slather yourself with sunscreen before exposing yourself to the heat of the sun. Make sure that when you do workout, bring your sunscreen with you as there are some that only last for just a couple of minutes or an hour or so.
- Not being careful of your surroundings. “When training outdoors, always be aware of other people training as well and also for safety reasons,” says Coach Leandro. “Be mindful of cars, too, if you might be running.”
- Not wearing sunglasses. UV rays may lead to all kinds of eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts so you need to purchase quality sunglasses. Make sure your glasses have both UVB and UVA protection and that they shun light from the sides and from the top.
- Not resting in between. Just because you’ve been pedaling for hours, you can go for an immediate swim next. Even triathletes need to pause in between rounds. Otherwise, you might suffer from pain, soreness, and stiffness the next day.
- Not planning your hikes or your routine. Aside from pollution, there are some allergens you may encounter along the way. For some, this can cause an asthma attack – a common problem among athletes. To avoid inhaling unnecessary smoke, you need to plan your route. Think about where you can do your morning routine. If possible, do it in a place with a cool and dry atmosphere.
- Not wearing the right shoes. Low-top running shoes may be ideal for an indoor track, but once you start hitting rocky pathways and dirt trails, you'll need more than that kind of support, especially if you are a runner. If you're traveling on cobbled streets or sidewalks, make sure that your running shoes offer gel support or complete padding.
- Not acclimatizing yourself to the temperature. There is a sudden rush of changes when you work out from indoors (room temperature) to outdoors. It usually takes one or two weeks before you can adapt to the heat. Begin by doing lighter trainings in the mornings or later in the day when the heat is not so intense. If you start getting tired or getting dizzy more quickly than the normal, better quit early and immediately get out under the ray of the sun. Remember to drink lots of water, too.
Keep in mind that during your outdoor routine, it is always best to have fun and enjoy the moment. Coach Leandro Cabrera says, “Remember when doing outdoor exercises, have loads of water and get other people to join you!”