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How to Safely Work Out and Eat Well during a Heat Wave, According to Philly Wellness Pros – Philadelphia magazine

Aug 14th, 2021


Philly fit pros and nutritionists offer their tips for exercising, staying fueled, and finding shade in extreme temps.

Philly wellness experts weigh in on how you can still maintain your wellness habits when its super hot outside. / Photograph from Getty Images.

Philly summers are hot in both senses of the word. Theres always something fun to do, but temps can be rough. Last summer was the third-hottest summer in the city since 1870, with 36 days that reached over 90 degrees, as reported by the Inquirer. And we all know 2021 hasnt been much better. (This week, Philly has been embroiled in a heat wave, leaving the area feeling like 105 degrees. Where is the relief?!)

Such high temps can make it difficult to safely exercise (especially as more folks opt for outdoor workouts), stay sufficiently hydrated, and avoid overheating. So how can you maintain your wellness routines when you feel like youre melting? Below, seven local fit pros and nutritionists share their tips for safe outdoor workouts, plus eating well and finding shade during a heat wave.

On days when it is super hot, I recommend getting out before the sun comes up and hitting up one of the many amazing gyms in our city. If youre working out outside, though, my favorite shady spot is behind the Philadelphia Art Museum. The steps can be HOT, but there a few shady patches where you can get a good little workout in! Also, we underestimate the power of walking how beneficial it is to our health and how it can be a great form of being active while not requiring you to exert as much energy [as other physical activities]. Brianna Williamson, Solidcore coach and registered nurse

While working out outside can be free, can be done at any time, and allows for distancing and taking off your mask, some people do not have access to clean and safe outdoor spaces, and its weather-dependent. A potential solution: check out different parts of the Wissahickon Trail, which offers a lot of shade. Lauren Leavell, local barre and HIIT teacher and founder of Lauren Leavell Fitness

Lemon Hill is well shaded, as is Boxers Trail and some parts of the Schuylkill River Trail. Your best bet is to try to go when the sun isnt high in the sky, so around dawn or around sunset. For attire, I usually wear a hat, sunscreen, and light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing, which absorbs less heat than dark-colored clothing. John Combs, co-leader forNovember Project Philadelphia

Adjust your expectations when working out outside. Be kind to yourself if you arent doing as much as you would inside, thats okay! Youll see people taking different variations in class, which is exactly what class should look like anyway. Plank can be taken on the knees or even in a tabletop position, for example. Ann Thornton, instructor at Tuck Barre & Yoga

Break up your workout into smaller, more manageable ones. Try alternating between a series of strength exercises and a sprint or jog. But mainly: listen to your body. No heroes are made from pushing through nausea or dizziness. Katie Costalas, co-founder of RippedPHL

After losing my previous water bottle, I upgraded from a 24-ounce to a 40-ounce bottle to encourage me to drink more water and it worked. My other favorite refreshments during the heat are fresh pressed juices, like those by The Juice Jawn, or the matcha lemonade from Shot Tower Coffee. I dont tend practice outdoors during a heatwave and instead opt for indoor practices like restorative yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, and pranayama, which is centered around the breath and can have a cooling effect in the mind and body. Adriana Adel, local yoga instructor

Water is best, or if youre a heavy sweater, a beverage with some electrolytes in it like a coconut water, Propel, or Gatorade. (Gatorade make all different levels of sugar in their products these days, so you can pick one that works best with your diet needs.) You can also increase your water-dense foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, and melon. Leslee Sholomskas, registered dietitian at OnPoint Nutrition

I can definitely say that you want to make fueling up before your workout a priority. You want to make sure youre not working off an empty keg. Maybe a rice cake with some peanut butter, a granola bar, or a banana. Plus, you definitely want to hydrate throughout the workout. After you work out, you may not want to eat, which is tough because your body needs to refuel, fill back those glycogen stores, and get yourself some protein to repair your muscles. When this is the case, sometimes a cold beverage like a smoothie might be your best bet you can pack in a lot of nutrition in them! Sholomskas

My go-to cold treat is a Weckerlys ice cream sandwich substantial, satisfying, and delicious! Thornton

When Im working out for longer periods outside, I take Saltstick fast chews to replace electrolytes (which contain sodium, potassium, and magnesium). My favorite post-workout recovery drink is good old chocolate milk, which has been scientifically proven to help refuel exhausted muscles. Combs

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How to Safely Work Out and Eat Well during a Heat Wave, According to Philly Wellness Pros - Philadelphia magazine

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