“You’re sweating like a pig!” Try not to take offense. If you’re constantly wiping your face during a workout, you’re not alone and this is completely normal. When you’re perspiring, your body is doing its job: working to cool you down. The only time you should be concerned is when the temperature creeps into the 90s. Heat and humidity are two major causes of excessive sweating, which means the summertime can become a nuisance. Learn to combat and control it, though, and you’ll be in hog heaven.
Follow these steps before, during and after your workout to keep yourself cool as a cucumber – or at least a lot more comfortable.
- Prepare for the worst.
Not only can sweat leave you squishing around in wet clothes that chafe, it can be downright smelly. That’s why choosing the correct product to minimize sweat is important. Deodorant only helps disguise the odor. An antiperspirant/deodorant combination, on the other hand, fights both the musty stink and the moisture.
Did you know that what time you apply antiperspirant matters? Try this: put it on right before bed and then again in the morning before you hit the gym. When your body’s at rest (sleeping), it’s calm, cool and dry, which allows the antiperspirant to better absorb.
You’ll also want to note the areas of your body that sweat the most. To keep the skin under your chest dry, dust on a little baking soda. It helps prevent irritation by soaking up any moisture. For sweat-prone foot soles, sprinkle baking soda or a foot powder in your workout shoes.
- Dress appropriately.
Invest in summer-friendly exercise apparel. That means it wicks away moisture from your skin. You also want these clothes to be loose fitting, since the extra breathing room can help sweat evaporate faster. If nothing else, wear a wide-brimmed hat for the sheer fact that it shades your face. A little shade will go a long, long way.
- Drink more water.
Prior to exercising, make sure you’re hydrating adequately. It’s OK to start drinking more water a couple days in advance of when you know you’ll be exercising outside. In those days leading up, also watch your coffee and general caffeine intake. Caffeine can dehydrate the body.
- Check the forecast.
You can’t change the weather, but being aware of what’s to come can help you plan accordingly. Do you need a different type of hat that covers your neck and your face? Do you need a hand-held bottle case so you can continuously sip on water? Maybe you want a sleeveless top instead of short sleeves, but you don’t have any clean. Check the forecast, take inventory of what you have and make sure everything is clean and ready to go when you are!
- Adapt as needed.
Take it easy when you first start exercising in the heat and humidity. Your body needs to get used to the higher temps, especially if you usually work out indoors. Give yourself a week or two to adjust, and you’ll be able to gradually increase the intensity and time of your workouts.
- Hydrate – again!
Drinking water while you exercise helps keep your body cool. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty – that’s too late! Take small sips throughout your workout. If you can take two bottles with you, fill one with an electrolyte powder that can replenish the minerals you’re losing through sweat.
- Take breaks.
If you’re feeling overheated, find some shade, splash your face with water, drink more and relax for a few minutes. Unless it’s a race, there’s no need to hurry. Even in a race situation, it’s better to listen to your body and lose a minute than not being able to finish at all.
- Wear sunscreen.
Ever noticed your skin is exceptionally warm when you have a sunburn? A sunburn may actually decrease your body’s ability to cool itself. Apply a sport-specific sunscreen 20 minutes prior to exercise and reapply if you’re out for more than a couple hours.
- Lower your core temperature.
One of the quickest ways to stop excessive sweating after your workout is to hop into a cool shower (not ice cold!). If that’s not an option right away, wipe off with a cool, wet towel. Relax indoors with a fan on and window open to reduce humidity in the air until your core body temperature has come down.
- Treat your hair.
Once you feel heated and sweaty, it’s hard to get comfortable again. Your face feels like it’s melting off and your hair is getting matted to your head. Absorb some of that moisture to help you feel refreshed. A dry shampoo is an easy, take-anywhere solution for the job. Baby powder can also work in a pinch.
- Continue to hydrate.
Even though your workout is done, your body is not done processing. Replenish your hard-working body with fluids. Whether you choose plain H2O, coconut water, a protein-infused quencher or electrolytes doesn’t matter. Go with whatever nourishing refresher you like best – and will drink more of!
Watch for dehydration warning signs:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
These may be signs of a heart-related illness. If you experience any of these symptoms while exercising outside, seek medical attention right away!