HOW TO WORKOUT SAFELY IN THE HEAT

When the Great British Summertime eventually shows its face, it’s often such a shock to the system that we feel like it’s too hot to exercise. When you break into a sweat just getting from your house to the car, it feels like it would be just plain ridiculous to then go and work up even more of a sweat by exercising. Hot weather needn’t mean dropping your usual routine though. Here are our top tips for keeping up your routine when the temperature starts to rise.

Hydrate!
As a general rule, whether we’re exercising or not we need to stay hydrated. In hot weather it’s important to remember that the usual 2 litres per day we all aim for will not be enough; when we’re sweating more, we need to replace that extra liquid.
As a general rule, for every twenty minutes of exercise we need around 300ml extra water while exercising. Once your workout is complete, add on another 250-300ml to top up.
By now we all know that our urine should be light straw coloured; keep an eye on this during hotter weather, especially when you’ve been working out. It’s a good indicator of whether your hydration levels have dipped.

Woman getting in some exercise time at running track

Think twice about fancy sports drinks
Gyms and leisure centres always sell lots of different sports drinks aimed at those of us who exercise regularly. The fact is though, that they are mostly full of empty calories and sugar. We only need sports drinks if we’re exercising for long durations at high intensities – so someone training for a marathon, rather than someone doing a couch to 5k.
Coconut water is often touted as a miracle drink that will rehydrate you faster than water but again, benefits are really only seen in people who are exercising for long periods of time.
For those of us who are going for a 30-minute run on our lunch breaks or doing a class at the gym, regular water will do just fine. Why not try an infruition water bottle  to help make plain old water taste great.

Ease into it
If you’re used to the normal grey days we have in this country, then it’s a bad idea to try and do the same workout in the middle of a heatwave or while you’re on holiday somewhere hot. Allow your body a few days at least to adjust to the difference in temperature. If you usually run, take that down to a jog. For joggers, brisk walking. You can gradually increase your pace as your body begins to acclimatise to the higher temperature.

Female Jogger on Coleman Avunue in Morro Bay, CA 5-2-07 - Photo by Mike Baird http://bairdphotos.com Canon 20D 100-400mm IS lens handheld from an outrigger canoe.

Think about your outfit
Even if you’re not at all fashion conscious when you’re working out, it pays to pay more attention when the weather is hot. Wear light coloured, lightweight clothing. Dark colours absorb the heat more and you will notice the difference! Tight-fitting or heavy clothing is also likely to make you feel hotter; the key to staying cool is allowing more air to circulate around your body. Check out hip & healthy and lululemon  for some great breathable workout gear.

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Consider timing
You might be used to exercising in the middle of the day, but when the weather is hot, that old saying about mad dogs and English men really is true. Try to workout as early in the morning as possible, or else wait for the weather to cool off around sunset.

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Know when enough is enough
While it’s perfectly safe to exercise in the heat, it’s also important to keep an eye on how you feel. Everyone is different, and even if your friend is getting on fine you might struggle more in a hotter temperature. If you begin to feel light-headed, weak or dizzy or get a headache, nausea, cramps or a rapid heartbeat you should head indoors quickly. Ideally, find somewhere with air conditioning where you can cool off.workout heat 3

Cool down sensibly
Jumping into a freezing cold shower after a sweaty workout might seem refreshing, but it’s not a good idea to shock your system. Also a too-cold shower will actually close your pores and stop you sweating, which is bad as it’s the sweat evaporating from our bodies that helps us to keep cool. Instead opt for a lukewarm shower, and follow up with our Cooling Finish Lotion; the menthol will help your skin to feel cool without shocking your system.

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Hot weather can often put us off exercising, but as long as we are careful about what we do we can still maintain a fitness routine when the hot weather arrives. Remember that a shorter workout is better than no workout, as is a lighter routine than normal.