How to stay cool working out at home on elliptical
July 2, 2020 4:47 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have advice on ways to stay cool when exercising at home on an elliptical machine?

Particular during the summer, I get hot when I do cardio workouts. I find that this generally reduces my overall eagerness about the endeavor: I’m not able to push myself as hard, I’m more likely to skip a workout, etc. I’d just like to be more comfortable.

I use on a home elliptical machine. Our home has central air conditioning, but it doesn’t really cool the second floor (where the elliptical is) super well.

What I do now: Point some fans at myself. Sometimes I bring a wet cloth with me and apply it to my forehead. These things help a bit, but I’d love things that help more.

Any suggestions? Do you have favorite ways to stay cool during a home workout?
posted by ManInSuit to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
My trick is to dress in layers that I can gradually take off. Then there are a couple different points during the workout when I feel like “ahh that’s cooler!” Just make sure you’re not adding them on right before—you want to start out feeling at a comfortable/normal temperature.
posted by sallybrown at 5:18 AM on July 2, 2020

Cooling the wrists, ankles as well as the brow affects the sense of temperature. So a brief pause to run water over the wrists may make a difference.
posted by sammyo at 5:58 AM on July 2, 2020

Get a big bowl of ice and place it in front of the fan, which is pointed at you
posted by Amy93 at 6:23 AM on July 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

In addition to your wrists and ankles, like sammyo said, put something over the back of your neck. Depending on how you run, you might even be able to leave a cold towel on your neck as you use the elliptical.

Just... don't wear clothes. You're at home, right? Wear the skimpy running shorts and nothing else. Nobody's going to see you shirtless. (I'm assuming, from the name, that you're a dude. If you're not, wear a sports bra and shorts.)

Turn off all the lights in the room, as light emits heat. Close the curtains or blinds to keep sunlight out.

Stay hydrated.

And, if you're really dedicated, you could take a cold shower before you start. Admittedly, this isn't the greatest advice. It's kind of pointless to take a shower just to get sweaty again immediately thereafter. And adding a couple of minutes of shower time before your workout isn't going to help with the lack of enthusiasm. But if you're serious about being cool, immersing yourself in cold water is a great way to cool yourself!

And if you have some money to throw at the problem, you could buy a window unit for this room. It's kind of silly if you already have central air, but they work well. I'm writing this in a room with a window unit on low right now, and I'm wearing a long sleeve shirt and long pants even though it's 85 degrees and humid outside. You'd be using it for less than an hour a day, maybe not even every day, so it's not like it would be a huge drain on your electric bill.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:24 AM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I have done indoor cycling and treadmill running during the Australian summer so I know how you feel.

Get one (or more) directed airflow fans - indoor cycling fans like these. Point the fans at your chest and core. If you can, get a remote controlled fan - start with a low fan setting and ramp up the speed as you get hotter. Wear clothing that is sweat-wicking (e.g. a running tank top or a cycling baselayer). Drink cold water - use an insulated water bottle (stays cold throughout the workout).
posted by KirkpatrickMac at 6:25 AM on July 2, 2020

Drink ice water throughout your workout if you aren't already.
posted by k8lin at 6:43 AM on July 2, 2020

I have a big-ass fan that points up at me from in front of my bike when I'm on my bike trainer indoors. My sessions are intense and routinely exceed an hour, so I get hot, but the fan makes a huge difference.

Also, having some iced water or electrolyte beverage is a good idea on longer workouts.
posted by uberchet at 7:51 AM on July 2, 2020

Uberchet, I'm not sure if you intended this or not, but Big Ass Fans is actually a brand name.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:54 AM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

If your home is in a humid climate then fans are only going to do so much as the sweat won't be evaporating very quickly even in a heavy breeze. The "ac doesn't reach upstairs very well" is also going to result in a more humid exercise room. And if you're sweating and there's nowhere for the evaporated sweat to go it's just going to get steamy, so can you open a window instead if it's less humid outside?

Maybe pick up a cheap thermometer/humidity gauge and put it in your workout room to get a sense if humidity is working against your sweat. If so, you may be able to solve the problem with more outside air, an in-room aircon, or an in-room dehumidifier.

Because when it comes to sweating, it's not the heat so much as the humidity that makes sweat work or not work effectively to cool you down.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:59 AM on July 2, 2020

Can you just get a small window AC for the room the elliptical is in? Running it just when you're using the elliptical shouldn't be too expensive.

Personally, I almost always find gyms too hot and stuffy to do cardio in (running outside feels more tolerable at the same temperature), and if I were in control of the indoor environment myself I'd just fix it so I didn't hate cardio.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:11 AM on July 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

I use the biggest fan I have plus a cooling towel (the kind you soak in water) around my neck AND a cooling headband, worn right across my forehead like I'm John McEnroe.

I have occasionally used two fans, one at my 10 or 2 o'clock and one at my 6.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:26 AM on July 2, 2020

I run indoors on a treadmill in a room with no AC (just a fan pointed through the door from the room next door which does have AC), I I feel your pain. My plan:
-run as early as possible (usually 4:45 am) so it’s generally cooler
-drink ice water immediately before and during (this does not make me cramp or bother my stomach, YMMV)
-wear the bare minimum (sports bra and the shortest inseam shorts from super fit hero, very thin socks, sneakers; sometimes but not always my Apple Watch because it makes my wrist so warm)
-use a “snap towel” that gets repeatedly super cold when you snap the ends

I also shaved my head, that helped immensely, but that’s probably too much for most people.
posted by okayokayigive at 8:43 AM on July 2, 2020

(I was aware, but this is not one of those.)
posted by uberchet at 10:28 AM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have a clip-on fan I use on the monitor part of my elliptical.
posted by egeanin at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2020

Cooling headbands are a thing: .

I haven't tried any of those, but I have tried just sticking an ice cube near each of my temples in a normal headband, and it definitely helps. I'm contemplating getting a nicer setup that might be more robust.
posted by nat at 5:02 PM on July 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

You could try wetting your shirt with cold water before you start - it doesn't need to be dripping wet, just damp. You could also fill a spray bottle with water and periodically spray it at one of the fans so you get a cool mist.

I do both of these in summer when I'm too hot to sleep.
posted by aussie_powerlifter at 7:30 PM on July 3, 2020

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