Beat the heat!
It’s hot, it’s humid, and we are all struggling with our outdoor activities! Do you feel like you have been slowing down on your daily walk or run? Or do you even avoid any activity during this heat? There may be a few small things you can do to make it a little more bearable…
Understanding how your body cools itself down is the first step in helping you figure out how best to exercise in hot or humid weather. When you run, walk or do exercise, you get warm because the muscles you are exercising increase your body temperature. When body temperature rises, a greater percentage of blood flow is directed to your skins surface.
In order to help „cool“ this internal heat, you break a sweat. It is not sweating that cools you, but the sweat evaporating from your skin. As sweat evaporates, we are cooled.
Along with higher temperatures, summer weather (especially at the coast) usually means high humidity. Heat and humidity are a double-threat. Everything just feels so much hotter and the air is filled with moisture! The higher the humidity, the harder it is for you to cool off because sweat cannot evaporate due to the already saturated air.
Since sweat is composed of plasma from your blood, sweating can decrease blood volume. This is why hydration becomes hugely important in hot weather. You are also losing electrolytes in your sweat, so consuming a sports drink or taking an electrolyte drink is very important.
As blood flow is redirected to the skin’s surface, it means less blood is available to your working muscles. With less blood available, the heart is forced to work harder to sustain hard running, and the result is an increased heart rate. Therefore, the humid weather makes your usual workout a lot harder! This also means you will go through carbohydrate stores faster and burn energy stores faster. This is where good nutrition will become very important!
But no need to give up hope during this heat! Use the tips below and the few very hot months will be over before you know it! Cooler months and stress-free training are just around the corner. In a nutshell: stay hydrated, keep as cool as possible and keep smiling – you WILL get through this looking better than before!
Some helpful tips:
1. Avoid working out during the middle of the day as this is usually the hottest time.
2. Try to plan your workouts just before sunrise or after sunset once it has cooled down or at the coolest time of day where possible
3. Look out for shady routes or workout spots with water fountains if possible. Alternatively, always keep a water bottle or a camelpak on your back with plenty of fluids to get you through and keep you sufficiently hydrated.
4. Consume enough water or sports drinks. A good suggestion would be to have a few sips of a sports drink or electrolyte beverage before and after your training. During the training keep hydrated with water.
5. Avoid getting sunburnt! Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your head and face and dont forget the sunscreen! Injured skin loses its ability to sweat, making cooling less efficient.
6. Wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothing that dries quickly.
7. Slow your pace down to adjust for heat and humidity.
8. Check any medications you may be taking because some can increase your sensitivity to heat.
9. Workout by exertion level rather than pace. If a workout feels hard, it is hard regardless of actual pace. The heat changes the whole dynamic of your training session.
10. It’s perfectly fine to train indoors when the weather is really bad. This will also help you avoid skipping your run/walk/workout entirely. exercising two or three times a week outdoors is enough to keep you acclimated to the heat.