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Summer Exercise Safety

Stay cool, stay active, stay safe

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather, but it's important to stay safe while you exercise. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your summer workouts without risking your health.

Stay Hydrated

When you exercise, your body sweats to keep cool, and this makes you lose water. Drinking plenty of water is key to staying hydrated. Watch the Hydration Guide Video, or follow these tips:

  • Drink Before You Exercise: Start hydrating a few hours before your workout. Aim to drink about 16-20 ounces (2-2.5 cups) of water two to three hours before you exercise. About 20-30 minutes before you start, drink another 8 ounces (1 cup).

  • Hydrate During Your Workout: While you’re exercising, drink about 7-10 ounces (a little less than 1 cup) of water every 10-20 minutes. If you're exercising for more than an hour, consider a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes, but make sure it’s not high in sugar.

  • Rehydrate After Your Workout: After you finish exercising, rehydrate with another 16-24 ounces (2-3 cups) of water for every pound of body weight lost during your workout. Weigh yourself before and after your workout to check how much water you need to replace.

  • Listen to Your Body: Thirst is a sign that you’re already starting to get dehydrated, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Pay attention to how you feel. If you start to feel thirsty, dizzy, or lightheaded, stop and drink water right away.

  • Eat Water-Rich Foods: Fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, oranges, and strawberries are high in water content and can help keep you hydrated. Including these in your diet can boost your overall hydration.

  • Avoid Dehydrating Drinks: Steer clear of drinks that can dehydrate you, like those with caffeine (coffee, tea, soda) and alcohol. These can make you lose more fluids than you take in.

Gradually Adjust to the Heat

If you're not used to exercising in the heat, give your body time to adjust. Start with shorter, less intense workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity over a week or two.

Stay in the Shade

Whenever possible, choose shaded areas for your workouts. Parks with lots of trees or trails that go through shaded areas can provide a cooler environment.

For example:

  • Sarasota Bayfront Park

  • Payne Park

  • Myakka River State Park

  • Oscar Scherer State Park

  • Red Bug Slough Preserve

  • Caspersen Beach Park

  • Venetian Waterway Park

  • Shamrock Park & Nature Center

  • Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center

Know Your Limits

Listen to your body. If you start feeling dizzy, nauseous, or excessively tired, take a break and cool down.

It’s important to know the signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Muscle cramps

  • Headache or dizziness

  • Nausea or vomiting

If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, drink water, and seek medical help if necessary.

Exercise During Cooler Parts of the Day

The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so try to avoid exercising during these hours. Instead, aim for early morning or late evening when it’s cooler. This will help prevent heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Plan Indoor Alternatives

This might be obvious, but it might be best to move your workout indoors on extremely hot days. Gyms, indoor pools, or even home workout videos can provide good alternatives.

Wear the Right Clothing

Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothes can help keep you cool. Look for fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin, such as cotton or special athletic wear. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun.

Buddy Up

Exercise with a friend or family member. Not only can it be more fun, but having someone with you is safer in case of an emergency. At the very least, make sure you're not exercising in a secluded area with no one else around.

Use Sunscreen

Even if you exercise during cooler parts of the day, the sun can still harm your skin. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it to all exposed skin. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating a lot.


American Council on Exercise. (n.d.). Staying hydrated: The key to safe summer exercise. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2020). Exercising in the heat: Stay safe and healthy. Retrieved from

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020). Heat exhaustion. MedlinePlus. Retrieved from

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