Duffel, backpack, tote bag, satchel—no matter what you use to get your gear to the gym, studio, or wherever you workout, here’s what should be in it this season.
1. Fitbit Charge HR
Working out on a hot day can put extra stress on your ticker. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic reports your heart beats about 10 bpm faster for every degree your body’s internal temperature rises due to exercise or the environment. Charge HR can help you keep an eye on your heart rate throughout the day and during workouts. If you notice your numbers creeping up higher than they would on a cool day (or indoors with air conditioning), back off the intensity and head for some shade.
You’ve heard this drumbeat before: Hydrating is a hot weather must-do! The amount of water needed varies based on your body composition and activity level, but in general the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 16 to 20 ounces 4 hours before exercise, then 8 to 12 ounces 10 to 15 minutes before exercising, and 3 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes while you workout. Also try to weigh yourself before and after your workout, and replace liquid lost during your sweat session within two hours—sip 20 to 24 ounces for every one pound lost.
No shower? No problem! A pack of wipes can be fancy (think: facial-grade) or plain (hello, baby aisle), and no matter which brand you buy they come in handy. One quick swipe can help sweaty, post-workout skin feel clean and fresh.
When moisture meets friction, blisters happen. “Even a small amount of rubbing inside your sneakers on a sweaty day can lead to skin chaffing and blisters,” says David E. Bank, M.D., a dermatologist in Mt. Kisco, NY. The best prevention: wear sweat-wicking socks when you workout, and have an extra pair stashed in your bag to change into when you’re done.
Not only does it ward off painful burns, regularly applying SPF 30 or higher protects against skin cancer, which, sadly, is on the rise. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the most common form of pre-cancer affects more than 58 million Americans, and 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked to UV-radiation from the sun. Wear as much clothing as your body can take considering the summer heat, and then slather sunscreen on any and all exposed parts.
6. Lip balm
Summer’s best elements—warmth and sunlight, aren’t so great for your kisser. “Lips don’t have sweat or oil glands, so they can easily become dry and chapped in hot weather,” says Bank. Look for a balm with ingredients that lock in moisture, like beeswax and shea butter. Choose one with SPF and you’ll be protecting your lips from UV-rays, too.
Skin isn’t the only body part that can be damaged by the sun’s rays. Research has linked years of exposure to UV-radiation with impaired vision and transient or permanent blindness later in life. Making sunglasses both a style statement and a health must! Protect your eyes behind a pair that filters out wavelengths below 400nm (look for shades with “400” on labels).
It’s fairly safe to say, this is an item that belongs in your gym bag year-round. But it’s especially important now, since sweat mixed with the heat of summer can make for an extra smelly situation. Use a towel to sop up wetness ASAP after a workout—deodorants work best when applied to dry skin.
9. Flip flops
Three words: foot fungus, ick! “Anytime you have warmth and wetness, there’s a potential for fungus to thrive,” says Bank. Don’t step anywhere near a public shower or pool this summer without a pair of these.
Did we miss anything? What’s in your gym bag this season? Share in the comments!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.