Sport in summer: the right way to do it

Sport im Sommer: Ist Sport bei Hitze gesund?

Brilliant sunshine and warm temperatures make us want to exercise outdoors. But especially in summer there are certain rules we need to follow when doing sports.

Prepare your body

Many amateur sportsmen and women are pretty resilient, even during the summer. But to make sure your physical exercise actually has a positive effect, there are a few pointers you need to be aware of:

Plan a warm-up

«If I already feel warm in summer, then there's no need for me to warm up beforehand.» Almost all of us have heard this statement at least once, but, sadly, it's wrong! The outside temperature has no influence on our muscles. Which means you should plan a short warm-up phase before any kind of sporting activity! This prepares your body for the coming strain and lowers the risk of injury.

Check the ozone levels

At the height of summer, the ozone level can often be too high, causing summer smog. Consequently, a vigorous physical workout can trigger complaints like watery eyes, swollen mucous membranes, headaches or respiratory problems. But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to give up training outdoors. 

However, to avoid the worst of the ozone pollution, it's best to train early in the morning, in a shaded wood or park.

The benefits of regular endurance sport outweigh the exposure to air pollution.
Ingo Fengels, Specialist in Respiratory Diseases and Sports Medicine at Hirslanden Klinik St. Anna

Drink enough

It may sound obvious, but this tip is important: when training in summertime, you should always carry sufficient water with you (and actually drink it)! If you even become only slightly dehydrated, your concentration, performance, stamina and ability to think will all suffer.

That's why you need to drink regularly to compensate for the additional loss of fluid the body experiences in summer – and not wait until you feel thirsty. Specialists in sports medicine recommend drinking 200 to 300ml of water every 15 minutes in summer; 100 to 200ml is enough in winter.

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Slow down

The sun is beating down, the ground is radiating incredible heat – you drag one foot after the other as you go jogging. But despite your slow pace, your heart is beating away madly. That's normal: even when training at our usual intensity, in hot temperatures our heart beats up to 20 beats per minute faster.

So we can slightly reduce the intensity and duration of our exercise on hot days with a clear conscience. Alternatively, we can do sports that automatically cool the body down – like swimming. There is also less risk of overheating when hiking or doing sports that expose us to currents of air.

Avoid the hottest part of the day

The most efficient way to engage in sporting activities is to deliberately avoid the sun, heat and high ozone levels. In other words, don't work out in the blazing midday sun, but seek out a shady spot or exercise in the early morning or late evening when it's cooler. That way, your training will continue to be fun – and healthy – even at the height of summer.

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