Is It Too Hot To Run Outside? Here’s How To Tell.


As the summer months approach, many runners face a dilemma: is it too hot to run outside? While running in warm weather can be invigorating, extreme heat can be dangerous, even life-threatening. Heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, can occur when the body is unable to cool itself properly. So, how do you know if it’s too hot to run outside?

The Risks of Running in Extreme Heat

Running in extreme heat can lead to a range of heat-related illnesses, including:

 Heat exhaustion: characterized by heavy sweating, pale and cool skin, fast and weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, and dizziness or fainting.
 Heat stroke: a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s temperature regulation system is overloaded, causing the body temperature to rise rapidly. Symptoms include high body temperature (above 103°F), confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

How to Determine if it’s Too Hot to Run Outside

So, how do you know if it’s too hot to run outside? Here are some guidelines to follow:

1. Check the temperature: If the temperature is above 90°F (32°C), it’s considered hot. If it’s above 100°F (38°C), it’s extremely hot.
2. Check the heat index: The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, takes into account both the temperature and humidity. If the heat index is above 104°F (40°C), it’s considered extremely hot.
3. Check the humidity: High humidity can make the air feel hotter than it actually is. If the humidity is above 60%, it can make running more challenging.
4. Check the time of day: The hottest part of the day is usually between 11am and 3pm. Try to avoid running during this time if possible.
5. Check your body: If you’re feeling overheated, dizzy, or nauseous, it’s time to stop running and seek shade or air-conditioning.

Tips for Running in the Heat

If you do decide to run in the heat, here are some tips to help you stay safe:

1. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water or sports drinks before, during, and after your run.
2. Wear light, loose clothing: Avoid dark or heavy clothing that can trap heat.
3. Run early or late: Try to run during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening.
4. Take breaks: Take regular breaks to rest and hydrate.
5. Run in shaded areas: If possible, run in shaded areas to avoid direct sunlight.
6. Monitor your body: Pay attention to your body’s warning signs, such as dizziness, nausea, or headaches.

Alternatives to Running Outside

If it’s too hot to run outside, consider alternative options:

1. Treadmill running: Run on a treadmill at the gym or at home.
2. Indoor track: Many indoor tracks are air-conditioned and provide a safe and cool environment for running.
3. Swim or water run: Swimming or water running can be a great way to stay cool while still getting a good workout.
4. Cross-train: Try cross-training with activities like cycling, rowing, or elliptical training.


Running in extreme heat can be dangerous, but with the right precautions and knowledge, you can stay safe and healthy. Remember to check the temperature, heat index, humidity, and time of day before heading out for a run. If it’s too hot, consider alternative options or postpone your run until a cooler time. Happy running!


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