Regardless of your fitness level, everyone acclimates to warmer weather differently. You may notice that your mom always needs a sweater and at the same time, your sister is more comfortable in a sleeveless dress (speaking of my family).

We have a psychological response to weather before we step out the door for an activity. Our brains slow our bodies down proactively trying to conserve energy based on the fact that we know it’s a hot day. Think about it, when you know it is hot outside you tend to think about it indirectly which makes you feel warmer.

In this post, I want to share my insight on how to keep your body cool so you don’t use the heat as an excuse to skip a work out, or worse, cancel a Netwalk! Here’s what I recommend:

1. Create good habits– Schedule in exercise time both indoors and outdoors. Running or fast walking in the heat stimulates your body to produce more oxygen-rich red blood cells. And that will improve your ability to perform well in warm or hot conditions. If you make it a habit to schedule in a variety of work outs, you won’t get bored and you’ll create a habit that’s healthy.

Habits

2. Choose your clothing wisely– Lighter color clothes with natural fibers will feel more comfortable than flimsy fabrics. Comfort is key in staying motivated to work out in the heat. Wear unlined jackets, skirts, and dresses because the lining is often synthetic and will stick to your body. This material doesn’t breathe as well and will leave you feeling like you are walking around in a sauna. Wear undergarments with wicking material that you can easily change out of before you get to work or your next meeting. I always bring a change of clothes with me including socks.

3. Support your feet with the right footwear– It is beneficial to wear proper footwear and socks. Every few years, I go to the shoe department and ask to get my foot measured. I know it might sound silly, but my foot has increased a ½ size up after I took up running a few years ago. Wearing the wrong shoe size can result in a lot of discomfort. No one wants to work out, if they attribute it to making their feet hurt. Oh and don’t overlook having comfortable socks. Socks help absorb sweat and keep your feet feeling cool and clean. They can also act as a nice cushion for your feet.

4. Have the right gear– These are some items I keep in my backpack, home and office so that I am prepared for any situation.

a. Lip balm with sunscreen that can do triple duty. In addition to using it on my lips, I use it to prevent flyaways, chafing and reduce the friction from shoes by applying it on the back of my heels when I’m not wearing socks to prevent blisters.
b. Powder without talc that I can use for body and feet.
c. Deodorant that doesn’t melt in your bag if need to reapply.
d. Water is a must. Camelback has a good quiz to figure out how much water you should you drink during the day. Take the quiz here.
e. Umbrella. We often think to only use umbrellas in the rain, but here’s a fun fact: Umbrellas were invented over 4000 years ago to provide you with shade from the sun.umbrellaf. Sunscreen. I reapply every 2-3 hours. Make sure your sunscreen isn’t expired, it can lose some of its potency.
g. I carry a lightweight woven scarf in my bag. You can drape the scarf over your shoulders or head whenever you feel like you are getting a bit too much sun.

5. Be mindful of proper nutrition– What you eat and what time of day you eat plays a substantial role on your mood and body temperature. You know your body better than anyone else. In general, if you avoid or reduce your intake of alcohol, soda, processed food and fried food you will feel less icky and will notice a profound improvement in your overall well-being. Why? These foods increase your body heat, zap you of your energy and dehydrate you. Stick to fresh fruits, raw veggies and lightly cooked foods. Top choices are salad, yogurt, watermelon, peaches, and pineapple. Learn more about how to build a healthy lifestyle here.

Hope you enjoyed these cool tips. Leave a comment on any tips you might have to keep us cool while working out in the heat.