How to Work Out in the Heat
Exercising when it’s hot outside has it perks but it can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared properly enough. When it’s hot, your body compensates by pumping more blood. While that helps cool your skin down, it means there’s less left for your muscles, which increases your heart rate. You’ve also got the added factor of extra perspiration to deal with, something which increases your body temperature even more. Although your body will work hard to cope, if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long without adequate fluids and respite, you could be susceptible to heat related illnesses such as sun stroke, heat exhaustion and heat-induced cramps. Here’s how to stay cool, calm and collected.
It sounds obvious but when it’s hotter outside, it’s more important than ever to ensure you stay on top of your water intake. Aim to increase your fluids more than you usually would and especially before, during and after your workout. If on a normal day you’re drinking 8 glasses of water a day, then aim for around 10-12 when it’s hot.
Know your limits
Working out in the heat puts extra strain on your body so don’t attempt to smash any personal records while you’re under even more pressure than usual. As well as taking it a little slower, factor in lots of breaks. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or faint at any point, stop what you’re doing, try to lower your body temperature and get hydrated right away.
Work out early
In general, it’s best to work out at sunrise rather than sunset, before the heat of the day has taken a grip. Humidity is likely to be lower then too and you won’t be fatigued by the heat in the same way you will if you’ve had a whole day working before you work out.
Loose, breathable layers that allow the sweat to evaporate are the best things to wear when it’s really warm. Lighter layers will also help you avoid any irritation like heat rash too. If you’re working out outside, repeated SPF application is key but also look for layers that have in-built UV protection too. Make sure you wear a cap to keep your head cool and keep the sun away from your face.
Take it easier
Planning long runs or intense training sessions when it’s really hot is probably not the best idea. Instead, opt for interval training that allow you plenty of rest and recovery time between sets.