If you're taking your workouts outdoors, the heat and humidity make exercise extra challenging. When you get home and catch a glimpse of your sweaty self in the bathroom mirror, the unnaturally bright-red face staring back at you may take you by surprise.
Your frighteningly scarlet skin may not look the prettiest, but it's no cause for alarm. It's actually just a sign that you're working hard and building up heat. When your body temperature begins to climb, your smart little body perspires to keep itself cool, but it also dilates the blood vessels in your skin to reduce your overall body temperature. Your face turns red because warm, oxygenated blood rushes to the surface of your skin, which helps heat radiate off it and prevents you from overheating.
Continue exercising outside as long as you feel good and have no other symptoms. If you find that your flushed face is accompanied by fatigue, dizziness, sweating more than usual, or nausea, then it could be a sign of heat exhaustion. Working out in the Summer heat is definitely a risk, so if you experience these symptoms, stop exercising immediately, get inside where it's cooler, loosen up tight clothing (or remove it all together), and drink plenty of cool water.
To prevent heat exhaustion, make sure to drink plenty of fluids before and during your workout, and try to work out during a time of day when temperatures are the lowest, like in the early morning. It also helps to run on shady woods trails or on a breezy path near a lake or beach. Here are more tips on how to stay cool when working out in the Summer heat and how to recover after a hot and humid workout.