Summer’s heat is reaching its peak, forcing people to find creative ways to keep cool. Athletes, especially, need to find ways to cool down during high heat. Increased body temperature means the heart has to work harder and can impact oxygen delivery to exercising muscles. Aside from impacting how you feel, heat can prevent you from getting the most out of your workout—a significant setback, especially if you’re training for a race or event.

As a cyclist and former marathon runner, I’ve discovered six ways to stay cool during hot weather.


1. Choose the right time of day

If possible, exercise in the early morning or later evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. It’s always best to avoid midday heat.


2. Stay in the shade

If you can’t avoid exercising when it’s hottest, try to stay in the shade for the majority of your workout. Not only does shade make for a cooler workout, but it also helps avoid prolonged sun exposure. If you live near a river or lake, try to find a shaded path that runs along the water—that’s likely the coolest option for your workout.


3. Drink water

I’m surprised at how many people I see exercising without water. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your workout is going to be more than 30 minutes, bring water. If you’re exercising more than 60 minutes, use an electrolyte beverage and plan to refill your bottle partway through.

Store your drink in a water bottle cage on your bike or, if you’re a runner, try a water bottle holder that straps to your palm. Hydration backpacks are also useful, especially if you can’t stop to refill your water. The point: stay hydrated.


4. Freeze your drink

If you can’t avoid exercising during the hotter parts of the day, freeze your water or electrolyte beverage. Pull your water bottle out of the freezer 30 minutes before your workout to allow it to start melting, so you’ll have something to drink when you need it.


5. Drink smart

While it’s important to stay hydrated, don’t overdo it. You can over-consume water, which dilutes the electrolyte balance in your body. Drink when you feel thirsty, and use an electrolyte beverage for extended exercise.


6. Dress appropriately

A cotton T-shirt might be your first-choice attire, but it’s not the best option for a workout. Instead, look for material that wicks away moisture to help keep you cool during your workout, such as micro-fibers and polyesters. If you’re doing a sport that doesn’t require a helmet, wear a hat specifically designed to keep your head cool and protected from the sun. Many fabrics also have an SPF rating that offers additional sun protection.


How do you stay cool while exercising in hot weather?