It used to be that the summer months meant freedom from the pains of running in winter, but with temperatures constantly rising year-on-year, it’s become something of a task to work out in the heat.
If running during wintry months is hard, then working out when the sun is high and draining you constantly can be a nightmare for those who are not very experienced with exercising. Inevitably, the dehydration will pick up pace, cramp or heat exhaustion will make you wilt, and your carefully planned outdoor workout might not have much shade due to flaky weather. But these days, a lot of this is within your control thanks to fitness trackers, smartwatches, workout wearables and the Internet of Things, which is enabling everyday things to become ‘smart’. So there are ways to know whether the heat will get to you, much before it’s too late.
Stay UV safe
You may lather on many layers of sunscreen but eventually the sun will get to you. To know about how bad the sun is at any given time, a UV sensor comes in handy, and especially when it’s packed into a sensor-filled gadget such as the Microsoft Band 2. In addition to packing in a GPS and a heart rate monitor, the second gen MS Band has a UV sensor, that shows a reading – ranging from Extreme to Very High to High to Medium to Low and finally None, presumably for night-time – after being pointed to the sun. Microsoft also tells you what each reading means on the Band 2 support page, so you know the difference between High and Very High.
With sensors enabling collection of data from various sources on your body, your muscles are not far behind. LEO is a wearable that claims to reduce your risk of injury. Using biosignal monitoring technology it tracks muscle activity, fatigue, heart rate, lactic acid levels, hydration levels, technique, calories, and a lot more. And then it gives you actionable recommendations – such as using a particular muscle more, or going easy on a muscle- all in real-time.
Know your hydration
The Gyenno Cup features a sleek ‘gadgety’ design, smart features and customizable options. It features a sharp memory LCD display built with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that shows the weather, current time, calendar, as well as hydration reminders. You can set reminders based on your drinking target and the time intervals you need to drink water in. Apart from these alerts, the cup also warns you when the water may be too hot for drinking, or when the cup has been unused for a while and the contents might be stale. These warnings are displayed on the screen while the cup itself lets out flashing lights and strong vibrations. So you are always in the know about how much water you should be drinking.
Then there’s Trago, a smart cap that fits on many generic water bottles and uses ultrasonic technology to tell whether you are drinking enough water or not. It’s compatible with Fitbit and the new Apple Watch, and the best part is that it takes into account your body type, the weather outside and the type of activity you are performing to give you the tips.
Keep your heart healthy
A heart rate monitor is fast becoming indispensable in wearables and for good reason. Your heart rate while working in the heat will differ vastly from the winter months. As your heart rate hits the high numbers, it can cause your core body temperature to rise and cause the body to overheat and get dehydrated faster. With the likes of Moto 360 Sport or Nixon’s The Mission, you can accurately track your heart rate for all seasons, especially in the summer.
For times when you want more direct data on your body temperature, there are fitness earphones that pack temperature sensors. Cosinuss is one such sports earphones that uses a thermoresistance element to track your body temperature and send it to your phone. It also measures your heart rate and its variability to indicate the amount of strain you’ve put on your body.
Map out your track
Think you’ve found the ideal place to run? Use maps technology to see current weather conditions in the area, social media tweets and user generated route reviews. Your smartphone is more than capable of this but devices like the Garmin Epix offer GPS mapping that allows you see the routes before hand on your watch. Another options is the Suunto Ambit3, that tracks your heart rate while in the pool, on the trail, or on the bike. The Ambit3 allows you to create 3D maps and movies of your workouts as well.