There are almost as many theories floating around about exercising in the heat as there are accidents caused by it. Every summer, untold fitness fanatics find out the hard way that sport and sun don’t always mix. Fear not though, it’s easy when you know how. Here’s a quick recap of everything you should know to summer-proof your workout once and for all.
Just keep drinking
The key to a successful summer workout is to stay hydrated. No, this doesn’t just apply to older people, especially when sport is involved. Half a litre to a litre every half hour is a good target.
If you’re heading out to play sport, it’s a good idea to have a drink with you at all times. It’s also worth remembering that sweat is lost water, not fat. Just think about the what your body loses during a workout at normal temperature and multiply that by one massive heatwave. Yeah, that’s a lot.
Don’t just head out whenever
In the summer, the sun is at its strongest, especially between midday and four o’clock. During this window, its rays are more powerful and a lot more dangerous, so it’s best to avoid it if you can.
The early morning and evening are much better choices for the amateur sportsman who would prefer not to dry up like a prune. The temperature range is ideal and you’re likely to be much more relaxed.
Listen to your body
If you follow these steps, everything will be just fine as long as you remember to listen to your body as well. During a heatwave, hot flushes are not uncommon and, while they could be over in a few minutes, they could equally leave you in a coma. Once your body temperature exceeds 41 degrees, serious muscle damage is a very real possibility.
So, if you decide to keep exercising as the temperature keeps climbing, don’t push it. Remember, a workout in the heat is no more beneficial that one at normal temperature unless you happen to measure success by dehydration.
Now you’re almost ready to brave the heat but, before you do, make sure to cover up. Wear a hat and always choose light clothes – which reflect heat – over darker colours that absorb the sun’s rays.
Oh, and one last thing: good luck out there…