BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Outdoors

Products for staying safe while working out outside


Going to the gym is a great way to keep fit, but some prefer the thrill of exercising outdoors. There are numerous benefits to working out outside. For example, sunlight increases your brain’s serotonin production, which helps to regulate your mood and emotions. Additionally, many feel that exercising outdoors feels less like a workout and more like play.

Still, sun exposure is dangerous if you don’t stay hydrated and keep your skin safe. If you regularly exercise outside, It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with products that offer protection from ultraviolet rays.

Exercising outdoors is a great way to get the vitamin D you need and may increase the intensity of certain workouts. Our fitness expert offers tips to exercise safely when outdoors.

In this video

BestReviews’ fitness expert, Judd NeSmith, NASM-CPT, PES, joins Gary Gelfand to share tips on staying safe while being active outside, particularly for the 50 and overpopulation.

What are the dangers of exercising outside during the summer?

The most significant risks are heat and sunlight. Your body needs electrolytes to function, and according to the National Institutes of Health. They're essential for generating and conducting action potentials such as producing hormones and moving muscles. You rapidly deplete your body's electrolytes when you’re physically active. Especially in the summer heat, because your body releases them when it sweats.

Low electrolyte levels can disrupt essential bodily functions. In some cases, it may be life-threatening. Water contains trace amounts of electrolytes, but it often isn’t enough if you work out in the heat for longer than 45 minutes.

Sunlight promotes serotonin and vitamin D production. However, excess exposure can cause heat exhaustion and other serious conditions such as skin cancer. It’s important to protect yourself during periods of prolonged exposure.

How to avoid dehydration

The cause of dehydration is losing more fluid than you consume. You can usually tell when you’re dehydrated, as it may lead to headaches, fatigue, and energy loss.

Increasing water and electrolyte consumption is the only way to combat dehydration. NeSmith says, “anything over 45 minutes in the really hot sun, you’re going to need electrolytes in your water.” There's a temptation to reach for a sugary sports drink, but you may be better off with an electrolyte tablet. These contain the same essential minerals as sports drinks without the unnecessary sugar content.

Sports drinks high in sugar may slow your body’s natural gastric emptying process during exercise. This leads to stomach aches and discomfort. Those who don’t like drinking water can still enjoy water mixed with electrolyte tablets since they often have a range of flavors.

If you’re used to exercising in an air-conditioned gym, the amount of water and electrolytes you usually consume may not cut it when working out in the summer heat. You must pay attention to your body’s signals while engaging in physical activity. When your mouth feels dry, go ahead and drink water.

Your eating habits may also affect your body’s response to exercising. Even when you aren’t working out, consider drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water every day. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day can also help you avoid dehydration. However, you may not want to load up on fruits before working out because sugars can lead to a stomach ache.

How to stay safe in the sun

When spending time in the sun, ensure you’re wearing the right sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection because it protects you from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least SPF 30 to protect you from around 97% of the sun’s rays.

Aside from sunscreen, a few other products can protect you from UV rays. For example, a pair of UV-protection sleeves are an excellent way to protect your arms. According to NeSmith, the sleeves are wearable during most outdoor activities, from mowing the lawn to cycling. These sleeves are often breathable and wick moisture away from your skin.

When choosing a pair of UV-protection sleeves, buying a pair that doesn’t itch or cause discomfort is essential. Buy sleeves from a trusted brand since knock-offs may claim their sleeves protect your skin from UV rays, even though they don’t.

UV-protective skull caps are an excellent choice for cyclists because they protect the top of your head from the sun’s rays. Additionally, these caps prevent your helmet from chafing your head and help keep sweat out of your eyes.

Shop this segment

Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets

These tablets contain essential electrolytes your body needs to thrive while working out. Each pack includes 40 servings that are mixable with water to enhance hydration and add flavor. The tablets use Stevia and are keto-friendly.

Sold by Amazon

Tough Outfitters UV Sun-Protection Arm Sleeves

These sleeves block roughly 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays and the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends them. Many are impressed by how comfortable these are in high temperatures. They are machine-washable and help wick away sweat as you exercise.

Sold by Amazon

Giro SPF 30 Ultralight Cycling Cap

This cap does an excellent job of keeping sweat out of your eyes and protecting your head from the sun’s rays. It fits under most bicycle helmets comfortably.

Sold by Amazon and BackCountry

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: