Exercising when it's hot
Posted on 07 July 2021
There’s nothing like enjoying a run on a beautiful sunny day. But exercising in hot weather carries a risk of heat-related health conditions like heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. Here’s some tips to help you to exercise safely even on the hottest of summer days.
Take it easy
Exercising in hot weather puts extra strain on the body, so it's important to know your limits, and play close attention to your body. If at any time you feel lightheaded, it's best to stop training or significantly reduce the intensity until you're feeling better. Don't push yourself too hard, and take regular breaks so that your body can cool down.
Pick your timing
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the hottest time of the day in the summer. If you’re planning an outdoor workout, try to do it either before or after this time slot. It's far cooler at dawn than it is at sunset, with higher levels of humidity towards the end of the day. An early morning workout is therefore always a better option in the hot weather.
Take a cold shower
Jump in a cold shower for a few minutes and leave your hair wet to lower your body temperature. You can also use ice packs on the back of your neck after your workout to help you cool down fast.
You’ll want to take on plenty of water before and after your workout. If you’re planning to exercise for more than 60 minutes, you may also want to consider sipping on a sports drink.
Sports drinks are important when working out for prolonged periods of time, especially in the heat, because they contain potassium and electrolytes that can rehydrate and replenish your body.
Wear loose, light clothing
Bright colours are good since they will reflect the sun and help make you more visible to oncoming traffic. If you can, opt for sweat-wicking shirts and shorts to keep the sweat at bay.
Dark colours absorb the heat, which can make you feel as if you’re wrapped in a warm blanket. Tight-fitting clothing will also heat you up. Keep it loose and light. More air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Opt for a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 and one that is waterproof so that it doesn’t come off once you start sweating. You really want to avoid sunburn, not just because it’s painful, but because it reduces the body’s ability to cool itself.
Take it indoors
There's nothing wrong with working out indoors at your local gym, especially if they have air-con. This can be your best option to stay cool while still getting in your workout.
Know your limits
Listen to your body and if you begin to feel dizzy, sick, or tired, give yourself a break. Taking some time off for rest is better than overdoing it and having to stop working out altogether.
Have fun and stay cool - and safe - this summer!