Working Out When the Temperatures Soar

We have never experienced anything like the record-breaking heat wave we are all living through in the Pacific Northwest. So how do you stay healthy and fit and adhere to your exercise plan when the temperatures are in the 90s and 100s?!


Here’s some tips to help you stay on track with your fitness routine during these sizzling days of summer:

Opt for the indoors

AC is where it’s at when the temperatures are soaring. Fortunately your local gyms, training studios and rock climbing facilities are all now open at 100% capacity and most facilities offer air conditioning and maximum air flow and air quality. You’ll be feeling nice and cool while you’re sweating buckets!

Malls aren’t just for shopping

When we were experiencing poor outdoor air quality due to forest, I suggested mall walking and mall workouts. For the same reasons, malls are great locations to get your workout on during the heat. 

Head to the water

Swimming is a fabulous workout and a great way to stay cool whether indoors or outdoors. Kayaking, paddle-boarding, wake-boarding & water skiing are all fabulous water sports that will keep your temperature down.

Seak some elevation and shade

Often you can escape the heat by heading to the mountains where the trees and trails will provide some shade.

Let’s cycle

Biking is a great workout and since you’re riding at fast speeds, the air moving over your body will keep you cooler than a run in the heat.

Avoid exercising in the heat of the day

Plan your workouts early in the morning or late in the evening to escape the heat of the day. If you can’t live without your lunch workout and the thermometer is reading dangerous, opt for a swim, cycle, paddleboard or indoor session.


If you do find yourself working out during soaring temperatures, remember these tips: 

Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise. 

The American College of Sports Medicine encourages exercisers to consume approximately five to 10 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during workouts (that’s equivalent to about 3-5 big gulps of water). Carry water with you in a bottle or CamelBak during long workouts.

Don’t forget an energy drink.

Energy drinks such as NUUN hydration or Gatorade are great if you are working out for extended periods of time. They assure you maintain solid electrolyte levels.

Keep your core temperature low.

If you’re working out during excessively hot temperatures, consider wearing a hat or visor that you’ve dipped in cold water, holding ice, or placing wet towels or sponges around your neck to help keep your core temperature low. Throwing water over your head will help keep you cool but don’t sacrifice water going in your body for water going over your body.  

Wear loose-fitting, breathable, light colored clothing.

This will help wick away moisture helping in the evaporation process and keeping you cool. Wear a sun visor and sunglasses to shelter you from the sun.

Back off on your intensity and pace.

Listen to your body which is working overtime to manage the heat.  You may not be able to achieve your normal speed at the same effort so just relax and go at a moderate or easier pace. Slow down or stop immediately if you’re feeling dizzy, faint or nauseous. 

Be sure that you’re rested and well-fed.

If you’re tired and hungry, the effect of the heat will be much greater.


Be smart when exercising in the heat. It’s a good idea to stay consistent over the summer and maintain your fitness so you don’t have to start from scratch in September but you also want to avoid heat exhaustion or a heat stroke!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 30 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and Salmon Creek, hosts races at WHY Racing Events, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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