Clothes for Hot Weather
What clothes should you wear in the hot weather? Consider this…
When you’re active in the heat, your core body temperature increases, and your body needs to send oxygen-rich blood to both your heart to keep it moving and your skin to cool it down. This can put more stress on your body during hot weather activity.2 To reduce this stress, it’s important to choose the right clothes.
Here are a few tips to guide your hot weather clothing selections:
Choose light-colored clothing for hot weather activity. Darker colors absorb more heat and will make you hotter.
Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. You want air to flow over as much of your skin as possible to help sweat evaporate and cool your body.3
Choose quick-drying, sweat-wicking fabrics, such as polyester, polypropylene, nylon, or nylon-blend.4,5 You can look for terms like moisture-wicking, Dri-fit, Coolmax, or Supplex.4 It might come as a surprise, but wool, particularly merino wool because of its thinner fibers,12 is also a good choice to keep you cool, dry, and naturally odor-free.4 (You’ll often find wool and polypropylene blends in athletic and hiking socks.)6 Avoid cotton, silk, and linen, which absorb moisture, and keep the heat close to your body.2,4,5
Socks, Hats, & Sunglasses
Don’t forget about socks, hats, and sunglasses. Socks and hats come in quick-drying fabrics that wick sweat. Socks with a polyester blend are a good choice.4 Choose a hat with a wide brim all the way around or a “sun-skirt” to provide shade for your face, neck, and ears.7 The head is a large body surface for cooling and a hat helps to shade it and keep it cool.2 Also, be sure to choose sunglasses that have 100% ultraviolet (UV) protection. UV rays can damage your eyes and lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions that can harm your vision.8
Consider Additional Protection for Your Skin
Sunburn can decrease your body’s ability to cool itself. So, be sure to lather on sunscreen to protect from sunburn, as well as skin cancer, and premature aging of the skin. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection, and SPF 30 or higher. Apply it at least 15 minutes before going out and reapply at least every two hours.9 You can also buy clothing made to block out the harmful rays of the sun, labeled with a sun protection factor (SPF) label.4
Other Hot, Humid Weather Tips
To stay safe while being active in hot weather, it’s important to pay attention to both the temperature and the humidity. In drier climates, your sweat dries more quickly to cool your skin, but you may not recognize how much sweat you’re losing, since your clothes might not be soaked through – be sure to hydrate.2 In hot and humid climates, it’s harder for your body to keep cool because sweat doesn’t evaporate from your skin as quickly as in dryer air.1 If you’re soaked in sweat, treat that as a reminder that your body can’t cool itself and that the stress on your body is greater because of the humidity – be careful.2 Check your weather (temperature and humidity) before heading out in the heat, and consider:
- Going out either earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler
- Moving your workout to a shadier route
- Slowing down – Give yourself permission to back off a bit when you’re exercising in the heat to stay safe
- Mixing up your outdoor walking or running routine with water activities (swimming or water aerobics) or indoor exercise.2
Hot weather workouts are possible by properly outfitting yourself and taking some of the the precautions above.
Get moving in any climate with one of our walking programs like Walk Across Texas!
- Ellis E. Exercise safely in hot weather. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/fitness/physical-activity/exercise-nutrition/exercise-safely-in-hot-weather. Published June 28, 2022. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- Lohmeyer S. How to stay safe when you work out in the heat. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/07/19/1016989389/how-to-heat-proof-your-summer-workout. Published July 19, 2021. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- Palca J. Summer science: Clothes keep you cool, more or less. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2012/07/25/157302810/summer-science-clothes-keep-you-cool-more-or-less. Published July 25, 2012. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- Vorvick LJ. Exercise clothing and shoes: Medlineplus Medical Encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000817.htm. Published August 13, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- com. What is moisture wicking and how does it work? Nike.com. https://www.nike.com/a/what-is-moisture-wicking. Published July 27, 2022. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- Bumgardner W. How you should properly dress to walk in Cold Weather. Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-dress-for-cold-weather-walking-3435229. Published August 15, 2021. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- Crossman A. 5 hot weather running gear tips. ACTIVE.com. https://www.active.com/running/articles/5-hot-weather-running-gear-tips. Published July 27, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2023.
- Boyd K. Tips for choosing the best sunglasses. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/sunglasses-3. Published September 5, 2021. Accessed January 6, 2023.
- American Academy of Dermatology. Why you need sun protection in the Winter. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/shade-clothing-sunscreen/cold-weather. Published May 25, 2021. Accessed January 6, 2023.