Today’s trend toward shorter, more intense workout sessions can be tough in the hazy heat of summer—especially outdoors. That’s why recent research into ‘precooling’—reducing your core temperature before a workout—is so timely. Studies published online earlier this year by Sports Medicine indicate that utilizing cooling vests, drinking slushy drinks, or even wrapping cold towels around your head can improve your performance in the heat.
The effects of precooling last anywhere from 30-45 minutes, says Meg McDermott, a physiologist with the Australian Sports Commission and author of the research. What’s more, precooling is most effective among athletes who don’t spend too much time in air conditioned buildings, which can hinder your body’s ability to acclimate to warmer workout weather.