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8 mistakes summer runners should avoid

28 Jul 2021

As temperatures soar in Oman, hanging up your workout schedules and slumping in the coach is not the solution. Workout you must but with a little caution and care

Many regular morning runners and often feel they are doing well by maintaining their daily workout plans in summer and even trying to outdo themselves. The results may not be good as one might be vulnerable to disorders and invite undue fatigue. Exercising outdoors might seem like the perfect opportunity to work up a sweat and burn more fat, but those who workout smart know very well that it is a good move to go slow on your workouts in summer. Working out in increased heat and humidity can lead to serious health risks. 

Also remember, a morning workout should not be a mandatory habit. Rather it should follow a good night’s sleep. Many people dash out to maintain their early morning workouts even though they have missed sleep the previous night due to some reason. It gives them a sense of fulfillment by keeping up their commitment. In fact, this is not an appropriate action and must be avoided.

Less sleep means disturbed leptin and ghrelin levels which are two of the main hormones that have been recognised to have a major influence on energy balance and that can also hamper appetite. Lack of sleep interferes with your ability to metabolise carbs efficiently. It makes it easier for your body to store fat and increases insulin resistance, blood pressure, and risk of having heart disease.

Here are eight common mistakes people do when working out in summer:

1. Not drinking water unless thirsty

Thirst is not the right way to stay hydrated. According to Mayo Clinic, when you are thirsty there is a strong chance you are already dehydrated, having lost as much as one to two percent of your body’s water content. With that water loss, you are more likely to start experiencing cognitive impairments like stress, agitation, and forgetfulness.

Exercising in the heat means needing water to regulate your temperature. Not drinking enough water will cause fatigue to set in, reducing your performance. Hence, keep a bottle of water with you for long workouts and keep sipping at intervals not at the end of your run or workout.

2. Skipping sunscreen

With summer, comes an increased UV Index, increasing your chance of sunburn, even when it is cloudy. Getting sunburnt can increase your risk of melanoma skin cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. Once you are sunburnt, putting more sunscreen on will not help the sunburn that has already emerged. It is recommended to use a sweat-proof SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply every two hours of moderate exercise, or every 45 to 60 minutes during rigorous exercise.

3. Not keeping track of time

Summer temperatures begin to climb earlier in the day. If possible, avoid exercising outdoors between 10am and 3pm to miss the hottest part of the day. If you have the option, exercise in shaded areas instead of in a direct path of sunlight. Try changing your workout schedule to early mornings or late evenings. At these times, the sun isn’t as intense, so it is cooler outdoors and you are more likely to find some shade to rest in.

4. Wearing unsuitable clothes

Skin hugging clothes or polyester blends are not your best options when exercising outside, though they might give you a more sporty appearance for your workout. Avoid body hugging t-shirts/tights or lycra slacks or shorts. Instead, wear loose-fitting, light-coloured, cotton blend clothing, These help you stay cooler and limit the post-workout stench.

5. Not consuming electrolytes

The hotter it is, the more you are going to sweat. Additional sweat means greater loss of electrolytes. If working out extensively or intensely outdoors, make sure to recover with more than just water. Instead, rehydrate with a drink that will replace your lost sodium, but avoid the artificial ingredients and added sugars that are in popular sports drinks. Something healthier, like coconut water or a chilled milkshake will be good.

6. Being unrealistic about performance

When temperatures rise, you can expect a drop in performance levels, especially when doing high-intensity cardio. So, it makes better sense to set realistic, ‘hot day’ personal records. Avoid the mistake of ignoring your exhaustion and trying to overdo it so that you maintain your performance records. When you exercise in summer, it can be easy to brush off lethargy but you need to adhere to indications of tiredness which suggest a slowdown. If you feel dizzy or nauseated, simply take a break.

7. Ignoring the weather

It can be tempting to put on your workout gear and step outside without first checking the forecast. In Oman, you do not have to worry about it being too cold or freezing, but checking humidity levels and temperatures would indicate how your body is going to respond outdoors. Also, rain forecasts will guide you to choose the right path or location for outdoor exercises. If a heatwave is underway, you need to be ready for it to make suitable amend to your schedule and workout.

8. Avoiding rain runs

Many people who workout outdoors regularly, avoid going out when it rains. It might be helpful, if showers are forecasted, to plan a run in the rain. Running in the rain helps cool you off, so you can still enjoy some outdoor cardio during summer showers. Also swimming laps, doing water aerobics and taking up other water sports, like water skiing, surfing, wakeboarding, playing water volleyball, or canoeing/kayaking are all great forms of physical activity that are safe in the sun with occasional dips in the water.

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