WASHINGTON – Through the heat and the haze of the Washington region, you can spot some hardcore fitness fanatics running, walking, cycling or playing golf or tennis outside. But there comes a time when it’s best to take physical activity inside.
The number to remember is 90. That’s because a heat index of 90 or above is considered unsafe for heavy activity in the heat.
“If you are all about health and fitness, why would you want to go outside and endanger yourself?” says personal trainer Dega Schembri, co-owner of City Fitness Gym in D.C.’s Cleveland Park neighborhood. “Running outside in 90 degree weather is just really unhealthy.”
Schembri and gym co-owner Lucinda LaRee say there are plenty of other options to engage in exercise during a heat wave, much like the one D.C. is currently experiencing — everything from zumba classes, to yoga and running the stairs at home.
“You can actually dance for 20 minutes and get your heart rate up,” LaRee says.
LaRee and Schembri also say a heat wave is a great time a break from strenuous cardio and focus for a while on other aspects of fitness, such as building core strength and flexibility.
And of course there is that one big exception to the heat index rule: It’s a great time to beat the heat by jumping into an outdoor pool and swimming some laps.