Summer’s the perfect time to get off the couch and engage in outdoor activities. You can take advantage of the beautiful weather by swimming a few laps at the pool, kayaking or bike riding through your local park. Not only will you have fun but you’ll be getting a good workout without it seeming like a chore. No matter which activity you choose, there are some things you need to keep in mind when exercising in the heat.

Check the weather forecast before going out

If there’s a heat advisory, you might want to skip your workout or move it indoors because there’s a higher chance of the heat making you sick. Some common heat related illnesses are cramping, exhaustion and heat stroke.

Exercise during the cooler parts of the day

Avoid exercising between 10am – 3pm when the sun is the hottest. Try to schedule your workout early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler.

Drink tons of water

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking water. By then your body is already dehydrated. You need to drink half a gallon of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Try to take a sip every 15-20 minutes during your workout even if you’re not thirsty.

One of the best ways to know if you need to increase your water intake is to examine your urine. It sounds gross but the darker it is, the more dehydrated your body is. The goal is for your urine to be the color of lemonade or lighter.

Protect your skin

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before leaving the house. Dermatologists recommend wearing waterproof sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30. Make sure you reapply every two hours if you’re going to be outside for a long time. This will help protect your skin from skin cancer, sunburn and early aging.

Wear light, breathable clothing

Companies make workout clothes in bright colors for a reason. Lighter colors reflect heat and help you feel cooler. Look out for items made of polyester/lycra blends because they’re designed to keep sweat away from the body.

Listen to your body

You’re the only one who knows what your body can handle. If you start experiencing any of the following symptoms it’s time to wave the white flag and call it quits.

• Weakness

• Light-headedness

• Dizziness

• Headache

• Muscle cramps

• Nausea or vomiting

• Rapid heartbeat