Places Pointer: Exercising in the Heat

The dos and don’ts of exercising

Whether you enjoy working out at the gym, in a group class, or outside, the heat tends to interrupt how many of us exercise.

Whilst the extra sunshine is appreciated, keeping fit in hot weather puts extra stress on our bodies, meaning we need to take greater care and pay closer attention to ourselves.

Here are some things to consider:

Take it slow

It can take a couple of weeks for our bodies to become acclimatised to hotter weather, especially if you’re used to exercising in cooler temperatures. Keep an eye on the intensity of your workouts, take frequent breaks, and listen to your body! Starting slow is better than overdoing it and having to stop exercising.

Make a splash!

The hot weather lends itself to making water-based activities your friend. There are many reasons to get in the water, and taking a dip in the pool to cool off during summer shouldn’t be overlooked. Think swimming, kayaking, or even diving! You can also place cool towels or ice packs on your neck, forehead, and underarms to lower your body temperature.

Dress appropriately

Light coloured clothes are great for hotter days since they reflect the sun, while cotton or any other natural fibre is a good material to choose as it’s lightweight and breathable. Sunscreen is also needed, as getting sunburn decreases your body’s ability to cool itself down.

Know the warning signs

Exercising in hot weather can put you at risk of heat exhaustion. Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Muscle cramps and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Cool, moist skin
  • Dizziness

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke. Signs of heat stroke include:

  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath
  • Loss of consciousness
  • A fast heartbeat

You don’t need to cut out exercising in the heat completely during the warmer months, it just needs to be approached with caution.

Stay safe this summer!

Sources: 8 Tips for Working Out in the Heat (Penn Medicine) | Mayo Clinic Q and A: Safety tips for hot weather exercise (Mayo Clinic News Network) | Heat exhaustion and heatstroke (NHS)

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