Strong Body, Strong Mind: How Weather Affects Your Workouts

You may not know that weather plays a major role in how your body operates and how your body feels before and after you work out.

Credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Credit: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Heat can cause a lot of problems and can leave long-term side effects. The most mild effect is heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps and abdominal muscles. The next level is heat exhaustion — when your body temperature rises as high as 104° F with vomiting or even fainting as its symptoms.

Credit: weegeebored via Flickr

Vintage 1950′s Illustration on Heat Stroke – Credit: weegeebored via Flickr

If nothing is done to lower your core body temperature, you could suffer a heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition and unless medical help is acquired right away, it can lead to brain damage, organ failure or even death.

WeatherBug's Fitness Forecasts helps you plan your workouts!

WeatherBug’s Fitness Forecasts helps you plan your workouts!

To prevent all of these heat-related issues, make sure to keep refueling your body with fluids, wear lots of sunscreen, wear proper clothing and, if possible, check WeatherBug’s Fitness forecast to time your workout so you are not outside in the blazing heat. You should try and always workout a little later or earlier in the day — when it’s not hottest.

Runners dressed appropriately for their exercise Credit: Lukasz Hejnak via Flickr

Runners dressed appropriately for their exercise
Credit: Lukasz Hejnak via Flickr

On the flip-side, cold weather affects the heart and if you go straight into an intensive workout right away, it can lead to a heart attack — remember to do some warm-up exercises! If you do not properly prepare to deal with the cold, you can also develop frostbite and even hypothermia! 

Pvt. Benjamin Franklin, Company H, 2nd Regiment, Minnesota, Cavalry. Lost all four limbs to frostbite, December, 1865 - Credit: otisarchives3 via Flickr

Pvt. Benjamin Franklin, Company H, 2nd Regiment, Minnesota, Cavalry. Lost all four limbs to frostbite, December, 1865 – Credit: otisarchives3 via Flickr

To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, wear warm clothes that are breathable (able to let sweat pass and evaporate). After the workout, you should put on some more clothes because you will start losing core body heat. If you are exercising in snow, please wear some sort of glasses. Even though you’re likely not looking up at the sun, snow glare can damage your eyes and cause photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness.

Credit: wheat_in_your_hair via Flickr

Credit: wheat_in_your_hair via Flickr

Here are a some tips to help you in your fitness journey to success:

  1. Eat high carbohydrate foods 2 hours before you workout. This keeps your body warm and gives you energy. Without this, fatigue and chill can set in quickly (especially in children).
  2. Stay away from caffeine because it can cause dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and loss of energy as well as vomiting and other serious health problems.
  3. Keep an energy bar on you if you decide to go for a longer exercise, you never know when you’ll need that extra boost of energy!
  4. If you’re in the city, plan a route so you’re not exposed to a lot of traffic. Traffic causes pollution, which can cause health problems and breathing problems down the road.
Refuel with sports drinks for faster replenishment of necessary chemicals. Credit: Betsy Weber via Flickr

Refuel with sports drinks for faster replenishment.
Credit: Betsy Weber via Flickr

Remember to rehydrate with enough fluids — you probably lost a lot of water during the workout. Cheers!

Stay Safe. Know Before™.

-The WeatherBug Team 

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