An average summer day in Central Texas: 95 degrees with a heat index of 100. You guys, it’s HOT out there! Yet some fools set out on runs in the middle of the blazing afternoon. Highly conditioned individuals have to make concessions for running in the heat: they hydrate more than usual, wear wicking fabric, pack electrolyte supplements, reduce their speed and/or distance, and closely monitor their rate of perceived exertion. Those who are NOT highly conditioned should not run in the heat of the day when temperatures are this high.
There is a bogus notion that exercising in extreme heat will facilitate rapid weight loss. Some folks take that one step further, and dress themselves in sweat suits or garbage bags. Here’s the truth of the matter: the extra pounds that seem to vanish when you weigh yourself after an intense workout in the dog days of summer is simply a reflection of water that you lost through perspiration during your workout. It is not body fat lost, and it will come back within a few hours, once you have rehydrated.
Raising your white flag to the heat does not mean that you cannot begin a workout regime in the summer. You should absolutely exercise! Just find a safter time or location to do it. Find out when the summer sun rises and sets (in Texas, it’s approx 6:30am rise, 8:30pm set), and perhaps take your jog before rise or after set. Alternatively, find a reasonably-priced fitness center that will allow you to join for the summer, so that you can exercise in an air conditioned facility. This is not a matter of comfortability; it’s a matter of life or death. Heat exhaustion can led to heat stroke. If you are relatively new to exercise, keep your running shoes in the closet during the hot summer afternoons.
Don’t forget about your four-legged friends, either. Your pooch cannot tell you when he’s overheated. Be smart and avoid afternoon dog jogs until the weather cools off.
Exercising will help you lose weight, but extreme heat does not get it off faster. Who cares about losing water? You want to lose fat! It took a while to put the fat on and it will take a while to get it off. Be consistent with regular exercise most days of the week, aim for 20-60 minutes, perform the exercises in moderate temperature, and let the scale tip to the right (down) slowly and steadily over time!