With summer in full swing and most of us spending more time outdoors, you’re probably thinking of ways to take our daily workouts outside too. Although it’s always a good idea to get some fresh air and Vitamin D, the heat these days can do more harm than good if you’re not careful enough. Here, we’re breaking down the good, the bad and the how-to workout outdoors.

The Good
When it’s warmer outside, your joints have an advantage because they become warmer, making it easier for your body to manage a better range of motion especially with complex movements. Blood flow is a lot smoother than it is in colder conditions because there is more oxygen outside than there is inside a studio or gym. Some people have reported that they felt better taking their workout outdoors – it’s easier to stick to an outdoor routine because the outdoors is everywhere essentially, there are less eyes on you and not as many feelings of self consciousness that one might experience at a gym. Not to mention there are no membership fees! Studies have also shown that being out in nature helps you relax and improves cognitive function as well.

The Bad
When exercising, your body temperature goes up internally. Your body’s natural response is to sweat – that’s how we keep cool. But sweating also means that your body is losing fluids. Overheating your body is something you want to be careful with while exercising when the temperatures are warmer. Should you feel any dizziness, nausea, weakness, thirst or confusion, take your workout down a notch or two. In an extreme case you could experience a heat stroke when you can no longer cool body off because your core temperature has gone up too high. Too much stress placed on the respiratory system and forcing your body to work overtime to stay cool can possibly lead to some loss of consciousness.

The How To
When training outdoors, avoid the intense heat, typically during midday hours. Keep hydrated always, even more so than you would during a normal workout. Wear sunscreen and clothing that will wick moisture away – pieces that are breathable and light, in color and materials. Anything dark or heavy will attract more heat. Start your workout off slow and allow your body to adapt to the heat. Pay close attention to your body – if it starts to experience any negativity from the heat, take a step back. Keep in mind that the sun and heat can rob you of your energy. Therefore, you won’t be able to push harder, you will simply sweat more and be in need of even more fluids. Getting fit outdoors should be fun. So always exercise with caution and that way you will maximize your benefits always.