5 Keys to a Healthy Run in the Summer

For a healthy run in summer, you only need to use common sense. High temperatures have different effects on the body. What's essential is to protect yourself from dehydration and skin conditions.
5 Keys to a Healthy Run in the Summer

Last update: 31 December, 2020

Summer is ideal for spending time doing sports and running, which are excellent physical activities. However, it’s also a time to take precautions. Going for a healthy run in the summer means protecting yourself from the negative effects that high temperatures can bring.

Ideally, you should practice sports all year round. During the summer vacations, many people take advantage of the fact that it’s also a time to rest from their routine and do physical activities more frequently. The problem is that, nowadays, the climate has become unfavorable and it can often threaten your health.

To enjoy a healthy run during the summer months, you only have to take obvious precautions. It’s not a big deal. In particular, you should use your common sense and apply the following recommendations. Keep reading!

1. Time of day, an important factor

A woman running along the beach with the sea and islands in the background.

This may sound like a cliché, but it’s very important to be aware that the hottest hours are not suitable for demanding physical activities, much less when temperatures above 30ºC are possible, as has been the case in recent years.

If you want to run or exercise in a healthy way in summer, you shouldn’t do it in the hours between noon and 6 pm. Rather, it’s better to do it in the first hours of the morning and the first hours of the night, since they’re the periods of time with the coolest temperature and fewer risks.

2. If you want to run in the summer, protect your skin

An attractive summer tan is never out of place. What’s not right is to expose yourself to the sun recklessly and cause skin problems. Using sunscreen should be a habit all year round, and in summer this becomes an obligation.

As a study released in 2003 highlighted, sunlight in circumstances causes harmful effects on the skin. These include sunburn, photoaging, photodermatosis, immunosuppression, among other pathological skin conditions.

Therefore, it’s important to choose the appropriate Sun Protection Factor (SPF). This is the number that appears next to the acronym SPF on the product packaging. If it’s multiplied by the time it would take for the skin to burn under normal conditions, this will indicate the time of action of the protector. Thus, you should choose the SPF that best suits your skin and your plans.

It’s best to apply the sunscreen half an hour before going out, to give the skin time to absorb it. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are indicated for all levels of solar radiation.

3. Hydration is fundamental

One of the most disturbing aspects of dehydration is that it often begins and progresses without people noticing. By the time you notice it, it’s usually become dangerous. That’s why, whether you feel thirsty or not, you have to drink all the time. Running in a healthy way in summer implies consuming liquids constantly.

An investigation carried out by the Spanish Federation of Societies of Nutrition, Food and Dietetics (FESNAD) showed that water, in addition to hydrating and being even more essential than food, helps balance the physiological processes of digestion, absorption, and elimination of non-digestible metabolic waste, and also the structure and function of the circulatory system.

It also transports nutrients, has direct action in maintaining body temperature, and improves cognitive aspects, physical performance, and thermoregulation.

The best option is to drink pure water, unless you’re going to perform a very demanding training session. In that case, isotonic drinks are advisable. You should drink before, during, and after your run.

4. A sensible physical activity

A woman stretching before a run in a tropical forest at sunrise.

Summer is not the best time for great physical feats. Unless you’re a highly competitive athlete, the best option is to practice conservatively. There’s no need to run a marathon and, if you really do want to run one, then you’re better off waiting for another time of year.

Healthy running in summer means doing it in moderation and without so many pretensions. If you feel the need for more physical activity, you could try stretching and strengthening exercises. They also have optimal effects and come in handy at this time of year.

5. Appropriate clothing

Be sure to use garments that offer comfort and allow perspiration without keeping the heat in. The best options are cotton fabrics and similar textiles.

There are also fibers that allow sweat to evaporate well. This is positive, since the accumulated sweat could bring about problems for your skin, besides generating unnecessary discomfort.

You may also be interested in: Sleeping When it’s Very Hot – Helpful Tricks

Bonus: Be careful with “creativity”.

Some people get creative with their weight during the summer. They hold the false belief that if they sweat like a shower, they’ll lose more weight. That’s why they advise others to put on a lot of clothes and go for a run at 3 pm.

It’s important to know that the only thing you’re going to lose is a significant amount of water in your body. And that exposes the body to severe dehydration. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to take into account what we’ve said from the beginning, which is supported by scientific evidence.

To conclude, do you like to practice physical activities throughout the year? Be sure to hydrate your body a lot, not to expose your skin without sunscreen, and, above all, enjoy the summer!

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