Five tips for exercising in hot weather
Most of the UK has been basking in sunshine for several weeks. Unusually high temperatures have led to people flocking to beaches and outdoor pools rather than attempting to stick to a physical activity schedule.
But what if you are training for a sporting event and need to keep to a programme? Here are some tips for exercising when the temperature is rising.
If you have an underlying health problem it is best to seek medical advice. Even if you are fit and healthy physical exertion in hot weather can be dangerous.
1. Time of day
Try to avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day, typically this is between 11:00 and 15:00 GMT. Early mornings or late evenings are likely to provide the coolest moments to exercise outdoors. If you experience hay fever you may want to take extra precautions as the pollen count is often higher early in the morning and late at night. Discover more tips for reducing hay fever symptoms from BBC Health.
2. Stay hydrated
One of the biggest risks to health in a heatwave is dehydration. If you are going to exercise in hot weather be sure to consume plenty of water, the NHS recommends: "Unless you're taking part in high-level endurance sports, water is the healthier choice and the best way to replace fluids lost through exercise."
Dehydration can happen when the body sweats too much during and after exercise. Therefore it's important to replenish liquids lost through sweat. The symptoms of dehydration can include feeling dizzy or tired or having dark yellow or smelly urine. Find out more from the NHS.
3. Stay in the shade
If possible, the best way to exercise during a heatwave is in an air conditioned or cool environment. If your home is cool enough and you are tempted to try exercising inside, why not play along with a Just for Fun routine designed to get the whole family moving? Or this could also be a good time to head to your local swimming pool.
If you are training for a specific sport and need to head outside to participate, try to stick to shaded areas and take regular breaks to recover.
4. Cool clothing
Whilst cotton may keep you cool in daily life, it absorbs sweat and therefore is not the best for working out. Opt for sweat-wicking fabrics - these materials draw moisture away from the body so it can evaporate more easily; cooling you down.
If you are going to be out in the sunshine, be sure to protect your eyes too. Excessive sun exposure to your eyes can cause irreversible damage. Top up your sun cream regularly.
5. Switch it up
Don't feel like doing your usual aerobic exercise routine during a blast of hot weather? Why not use the opportunity to concentrate on strength and flexibility exercises? Although often overlooked, this type of exercise can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health.
The physical benefits include improved balance, muscle strength and help maintain bone density.
Whatever activity you decide to undertake be sure to stay hydrated and don't over-exert yourself.