It’s Hot and Humid Out — Should I Exercise?

I was plan­ning to join my run­ning group for our usu­al Thurs­day evening 3½ mile run. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, even at 6:30 pm the ther­mome­ter was still above 90 degrees and the humid­i­ty in cen­tral New Jer­sey wasn’t let­ting up either.

On top of all that, I was mak­ing my wife ner­vous as I con­tem­plat­ed run­ning under those con­di­tions.

There are plen­ty of warn­ings out there to cut back out­door activ­i­ty when it’s hot and humid. If you ignore the sig­nals com­ing from your body and over­do it, there can be some seri­ous med­ical con­se­quences.

But are there actu­al advan­tages to train­ing in hot and humid weath­er?

sweating athlete

The human body is remark­ably adapt­able – maybe hot weath­er is some­thing we should be learn­ing to adapt to instead of cow­er­ing indoors with the A/C cranked up to the max.   I know I’m hap­pi­est when I’ve found some new phys­i­cal pur­suit in which I can (gen­tly) push my lim­its.

It turns out there are some dis­tinct advan­tages to work­ing out in hot weath­er.


Experts agree that any­one in poor shape shouldn’t start a con­di­tion­ing pro­gram out­doors in the mid­dle of August. You’re tak­ing the risk of heat stroke or worse.

But if you have a base­line of rea­son­able phys­i­cal fit­ness, and you’re will­ing to pay care­ful atten­tion to the sig­nals your body is giv­ing you, work­ing out in hot weath­er can give you an extra fit­ness boost. Don’t imag­ine you can run as far or as fast as you might in cool­er weath­er. And plan to hydrate (that’s mod­ern lin­go for drink­ing water) two or three times as much as under more nor­mal con­di­tions.

The ben­e­fits?

  • You’ll become more effi­cient at sweat­ing. I know this may not be on the top of your list of pri­or­i­ties, but sweat­ing is how you stay cool in hot weath­er. If you begin to sweat more effi­cient­ly, that will help you even when you’re not exer­cis­ing.
  • Your con­di­tion­ing will take a big boost, espe­cial­ly if hot-weath­er work­outs become a reg­u­lar part of your rout­ing
  • You’ll have the per­son­al sat­is­fac­tion of feel­ing your body rise to a phys­i­cal chal­lenge.





About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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