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Going outside on steamy August days can feel like a chore—so much so that exercising outside feels nearly impossible. And to make matters worse, exercising outside in the heat in the wrong gear can make 80 degrees feel like 100. Here, discover the best attire to protect you from sunburns, overheating, muscle cramps and more.

Baseball Hats

Because the face is one of the parts of the body most commonly exposed to the sun, it is also one of the most common areas in which people develop skin cancer. Moisturizers with SPF or sunscreen can help protect the face, but a baseball hat provides an added layer of protection from dangerous UV rays. What’s more, a hat can soak up sweat while you’re exercising, preventing it from dripping down into your eyes, plus help you see on bright days. 

Clothes with UPF

On summer days, it’s tempting to wear as little clothing as possible to avoid overheating. And while loose, light-colored clothing is recommended to avoid heat exhaustion, applying sunscreen to your exposed limbs may not be enough to protect you from sunburn. UVA rays can penetrate through clothing, but apparel with UPF technology (the fabric equivalent of SPF) can help. An item’s UPF rating is indicative of the density of the fibers it is made from—the higher the rating, the higher the density and the more difficult it is for the sun’s rays to get through. A plain cotton T-shirt would have a UPF between 5 and 8, meaning it would block about 80% of UV rays, while clothing specially made with a UPF of 50 or higher would block close to 98%. Many popular athleticwear brands make apparel with high UPFs and you can find inexpensive picks, like this one, on sites like Amazon. Also smart: Choosing shirts with sleeves, if you can bear it, to further protect the shoulders from the sun.

Compression and Wicking 

One of the first signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke is muscle cramps. In addition to hydrating, compression activewear can help keep muscles loose and get rid of cramps. The tight fit stimulates circulation to increase blood flow to the muscles, which can help with post-workout soreness and cramping. Compression apparel has even been shown to prevent instances of muscle strain and increase the amount of oxygen flowing to the muscles. For an added benefit, choose athleticwear that has compression and is sweat-wicking. These synthetic fabrics are designed to handle moisture better than traditional materials, so you won’t be wearing a heavy, saturated shirt at the end of your workout. It’s easy to find great deals on compression gear, like these leggings.

Do you have a favorite piece of workout gear for summer? Tell us about it in the comments on our Instagram, @powerforlifefitness, or post a photo wearing it and tag us for the chance to win a gift card to TK athletic wear brand.

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