Heat and exercise: Keeping cool in hot weather. Stay safe during hot – weather exercise by drinking enough fluids, wearing proper clothing and timing your workout to avoid extreme heat. “Opposite to what many believe, it is not actually dangerous to exercise in the heat. What can be dangerous is How we handle the heat. Nutrition and preparation is key. Learn how to stay cool, fit and healthy this summer with our guidelines for working out in the heat.
1. Plan Day Exercise
May be the most simple, but also important advice is to choose the right time of day to exercise. It is very important to rise early to catch the cool of the morning, or go out at sunset or later.
When temperatures are reaching high, it is smart to either head out early in the morning or late at night when temperatures are lower, to avoid the midday heat.
2. Plan Where to Exercise
Always choose shaded areas over places with direct sunshine. Hit the trails in shady woods or long a breezy beach shoreline. If you haven’t tried trail running yet for example, this is the perfect summer to give it a go.
3. Keep Your Head Cool
The most important body part to keep cool is the head. As otherwise you tend to get extremely tired.
A good tip is to use a cap that you soak in water every so often, to keep the head as cool as possible.
4. Plan When and What to Drink
It is important to have a proper plan when and what to drink, especially if you are doing long endurance – based sessions, but even if you are just heading to the gym you should bring a drink with you when it is really hot outside. Staying hydrated will help prevent some of the symptoms you may experience from exercising in heat such as dizziness, stomach cramps, and headaches. During your run, sip four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Add Extra Salt to Food and Drinks
The body is able to regulate the amount lost and balance it with the amount absorbed from a normal diet. Normally we are told to use less salt in our food, but during hot days, and especially when exercising regularly, it is actually smart to salt your food a little extra. You can even add normal salt to your water bottle, for an extra boost.
“Salt is really important as Sodium (found in salt) binds to water in the body and helps maintain the balance of fluids. If the salt levels are too low your body can’t bind to anything, which makes you tired and swollen –
Something that happens to women more often than men. So, if you sweat a lot, don’t forget to keep your salt levels healthy.”
6. If You Sweat at Night, Drink More in The Morning
Something many forget about is that during hot nights we sweat in our sleep, which means that we start our days on minus (on the hydration scale). Thus, you have to start the day with water – preferably with some kind of rehydration tablet as well.
“Normally, when it is less hot outside and we’ve had a good nights sleep and enough to eat and drink the day before, we start our day on plus. Then it is totally ok to go for a run before breakfast, but not when it is this warm – then you have to drink water with rehydration tablets before heading out.”
7. Avoid Caffeine During Training Sessions
Never start a hot weather session with caffeine, as it is makes you pee more often. In hot weather your body needs to retain fluids, not get rid of them.
8. Divide Your Long Running Sessions Into Shorter Laps
Running is the hardest and toughest thing to do in the heat. It is not healthy to do long runs in one go, and it is important to have a drink plan in place before you head out. If you are going to run 21 km, do it in three laps – so you run 7 km three times – ad drink water in between each lap.
“The other day, I set up a water stand at home and then ran past it three times during my run so that I could keep hydrating. I basically ran home, drank 5 – 6 big sips, and then headed out for the next lap. During any session longer than 5 km you need to drink water.”
Summer time isn’t the best time to push yourself, so if you can only handle 10 minutes at a time, do what you can, or exercise twice in one day.
9. Don’t Bring Water Along If It Affects Your Running Technique
Why set up a water stand then – why not just bring water with you? Well, running with a heavy backpack, bottle or similar not only ruins the running experience it is also bad for your running technique.
“I see many people running with hydration packs or even with big heavy bottles in their hands, and I’ve never understood how they can do it. It is not only annoying but it also really bad for your body as it misaligns you when running. A bottle in one hand makes you wonky, and a backpack will change the position of your back – and it’s going to affect your running technique, which can lead to injury. If you are going to be out running for 90 minutes and have to bring water with you, my advice is to invest in a really good, ergonomic pack in that case. Otherwise, do shorter laps with water stops.”
10. Remember That You Sweat When Swimming
When temperatures on land reach new highs it is tempting to cool off with a swim rather than a run or cycle. It is important to remember, however, that you sweat even in the water (although you don’t feel it) so it’s equally important to keep hydrating when swimming.
“This summer all the lakes are so warm that you’ll actually end up sweating more than normal, and thus rehydration becomes even more important. It can be hard to rehydrate when swimming in open water, but if you are doing laps in a pool always have a bottle of water with you that you can sip on during your session.”
11. Type of Exercise
Don’t let hot summer temperatures derail your fitness routine. Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature and humidity can increase your core body temperature.
Change up the type of workout to fit the temps: On superhot and humid days, choose cooler cardio activities like biking in the wind or swimming in cold water.
12. Invest in Some Wicking Clothes
Wearing the right clothing can make the difference between an enjoyable workout and an hour of misery.
Lightweight, breathable, wicking clothes are a must. They’ll pull moisture away from your skin, so you really do feel cooler. Wearing a hat to keep the hot sun off your head and face also helps.
So, it’s important to invest in technical clothing that is both sweat wicking and to keep you dry and comfortable, whatever the weather.