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Saved 8/23/10 to RunningSugar

A Reader Asks: When Is It "Too Hot" to Work Out?

FitSugar reader KittyTX loves to run outside in the heat and asked this question to the community.

I was born and raised in Texas, so I think that has a lot to do with my comfort in hot weather that everyone else thinks is miserable. I live in Austin now, and it's been over a hundred degrees for a long time now. I absolutely love the heat and hate cold weather. I actually wake up shivering in the mornings, because the house temperature has sunk to 72 degrees while I was sleeping. I HATE the environment at work, because all the (slightly overweight) women turn the AC down to the 60s.

My question is: What is the danger of working out in the 105 degree (literally) weather we have going on here? People look at me like I'm nuts and act like it's one of the worst things that I can do to my body when I head out the door at 2 into the blazing sun. The truth is, this is my favorite time of year, because it's the only time I'm comfortable. I love being outdoors to get exercise, because I have no motivation to go to the gym since I doze off from the boredom of running towards a wall for 30 minutes. I also refuse to wait until it's almost dark to go outside like most people like to do around here, because I'm a woman (whose been attacked before) and I know it's not safe. I wear tons of sunscreen. I drink plenty of water. I maintain my asthma really well, and it only really bothers me in the winter. Is it really that bad for my body?

Leave your two cents in the comments section below. If you have a health or fitness-related question of your own, then ask it here.

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4 years 3 weeks
As someone who grew up in Austin and never got used to the summer heat... I say, you go, girl. I was always envious of the people who could run Town Lake during August. (These days I live in a colder climate and enjoy my runs through snowdrifts.) If you live in Austin I'm sure you know to keep hydrated and to be careful with your body. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't exercise outside!
4 years 3 weeks
I live in Arizona and it's been extremely humid lately. I went for my run this morning and actually (kinda) collapsed towards the end. I've played soccer for years during the summer heat and never had a problem as long as I DRANK WATER during the games. If it's really humid out at these temps, I say DONT. I wish I didn't this morning and still feel crummy about it. dry heat over wet, any day of the week :)
chloe-bella chloe-bella 4 years 3 weeks
As long as you feel ok, working out outside is fine. Just be sure and bring some water with you, and if you're going to be exercising for an extended length of time, I would bring some sort of snack with salt in it (ex. Cliff shot blocks). The things you have to worry about are 1) not hydrating enough and 2) drinking to much water without replacing the salt you're losing through sweat. As long as you're mindful of these things and you don't push yourself to the point of dizziness/nausea/headache, you should be fine.
CCSR CCSR 4 years 3 weeks
As long as you're properly hydrated (and that includes making sure you're getting enough salt, etc), you should be fine. Just listen to your body -- if you get light headed, stop. But aside from that, go one with it. I've ran in super-hot weather tons of times this summer (and in DC is HUMID), and it's tougher, but not dangerous if you take the necessary precautions.
4 years 3 weeks
I live in Austin, too, and always wear a heart rate monitor when I work out. If I go walking on the hike and bike during the hottest part of the day, my HR easily hits 180-185 just by WALKING- crazy. Just be careful, don't push yourself too much, and stay hydrated.
4 years 3 weeks
I live in New Orleans, and we're experiencing similar temperatures. I generally run around 6:30 at night- during the summer it's not yet dark and it's at least cooled off into the 90's. I have exercise induced asthma and I agree with you that the heat significantly decreases how much I suffer from it. Humidity helps a great deal as well. That being said, I have found that I am a much slower runner in the summer, and I only do short runs (4 miles or so) in the evenings. I am much more comfortable getting up early on the weekends to do a long run before the temp. gets out of the 80's. I think overall you can definitely acclimate (and it sounds like you have) but I would really pay attention to your body and not overdo it. I'd also make sure you are hydrating and replacing your electrolytes and not just drinking plain water (weigh yourself before and after a run and see how much liquid you are losing to give yourself an idea of how much to replace) and that your heart rate isn't getting too high. As for the office, mine has provided me with a space heater. It doesn't hurt to ask!
4 years 3 weeks
I have suffered severe dehydration running in this heat at 5:30 during the day. I was training for my college soccer team. Protect yourself. I don't think I have ever felt worse. I couldn't walk, and I was saying really weird stuff because I was delirious!
4 years 3 weeks
I agree with AnAnyMouse. I really see no reason to mention that they're slightly overweight. That comment was totally distracting from your question.
4 years 3 weeks
I'm not sure that mentioning the weight of your coworkers was entirely necessary. Typically, how people react to the temperature of the air around them has to do with circulation - one of my heaviest friends manages better in hotter weather than I do and gets cold easily. Bringing up that the coworkers around you keep the office cooler has anything to do with their weight is just insulting and makes it sound like you're looking more for people to agree that being in shape means being able to tolerate hotter weather and that their difficulties with temperature fluctuation are a result of them being fat and lazy. Signed, Fit and freezing.
Raynne413 Raynne413 4 years 4 weeks
I know exactly what you mean about freezing at work. The guys here keep it SO cold. I actually have a blanket at my desk now. As for exercising outside in that kind of heat, it really isn't healthy. Besides the risk of dehydration (if you sweat enough, water alone won't cut it because you also sweat out sodium and minerals) there's the risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Also, heat causes your blood to thin, so that's an added risk. For example, I'm already on blood thinner, so my doctor has pretty much threatened me about being out in the heat during the summer. Maybe you could try going out in the morning when it is cooler, but not as hot/sunny?