Summer is right around the corner and here in Arizona, we take “summer heat” to an entirely new level. It is a great idea to enjoy some sort of exercise outside in the sunshine, but it is also important to be safe when doing so.

When exercising in the hot Arizona sun, it can increase your risk of injury, dehydration and, most dangerously, heat exhaustion — which can be a medical emergency.

Here are some tips to ensure you can conquer your workouts while staying safe:


Hydration, hydration, hydration and repeat — it is so important to be consistently hydrating and drinking water throughout the day. Water is vital for your body to move nutrients through and ensure proper blood flow to your muscles. Make sure you have water on hand when exercising outside. If your exercise regimen ends up being 60-plus minutes long, I recommend incorporating some type of sports drink (Gatorade, Powerade, LiquidIV) for electrolyte replenishment and continued fuel.

Not only should you focus on your water intake, but try incorporating hydrating foods such as melons, berries, cucumber or broccoli. Generally speaking, most fruits and veggies are primarily made up of water, so incorporating these are great for a slow-release hydration source.

Weather Forecast

Check the forecast. Try to avoid exercising during the hottest time of the day. It is important to check how intense the UV index will be and what amount of sunscreen will be appropriate.

Lastly, check the humidity level in the air. Humidity can make exercising even more difficult. It causes your sweat to “stick” to your skin, which can increase your internal body temperature. Try to exercise in the early or latter parts of the day when the sun is not as intense and humidity percentage is lower.


Nothing is worse than getting lost on your run or hike and drowning in excessive heat. Try to plan your route in advance — know where to stop to use the restroom, always carry water on hand and plan appropriate water stops.


After your exercise, it is important you properly fuel yourself. You need to replenish your sweat loss and incorporate recovery foods for muscle fatigue. I recommend consuming hydration-rich foods such as watermelon or cucumber, as well as electrolyte-replacements. After exercising in the hot sun, it can lead to nauseating feelings and lack of hunger cues.

To address this, I recommend utilizing a cold liquid, such as cold chocolate milk. Not only is chocolate milk a great source of protein and carbohydrates, but the cooling sensation you will feel when drinking this will help to bring your internal core body temperature back down.

Once your body temperature is normalized, the nauseated feelings leave and your hunger cues come back. Try incorporating foods with sodium in them as well. Sodium is an electrolyte mainly lost in sweat and is important to regulate muscle cramping.

Know the signs

Know when to go inside, especially before it is too late. Signs of dehydration include dark yellow urine, dizziness, dry mouth or eyes, general fatigue, rapid heart rate and muscle cramps.

Kristen Carli, MS, RD is owner and registered dietitian nutritionist at Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. Reach her at

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