Tips for Exercising, Running, or Cycling in the Heat

Tips for Exercising, Running, or Cycling in the Heat

I can FINALLY post this blog as it looks like we have a hot week ahead of us in the UK!!

As the heat goes up, so does our enthusiasm for outdoor exercise. Whether it’s running, cycling, a brisk walk, a hike, a circuit class in the park or any other form of execise, exercising in the heat brings with it an extra set of challenges.

Here’s a few tips to help you keep up with your fitness goals while also staying safe and cool this summer:

Start Early or Late

The best time to hit the road or trails is when the sun is less fierce. Early mornings or late evenings are ideal as the temperatures are generally cooler and the air quality better. This not only helps in avoiding the intense midday heat but also protects your skin from excessive sun exposure.

Dress Appropriately

Choosing the right attire can make a huge difference. Opt for lightweight, breathable, and light-coloured clothing that reflects the sun’s rays away from your body. Fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin can also enhance comfort and reduce chafing. Don’t forget a cap and sunglasses to shield your eyes and face.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is crucial. The hotter it gets, the more you sweat, and the higher your risk of dehydration. Always carry a water bottle and take sips regularly before you even feel thirsty. For longer sessions, consider sports drinks that can replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.

Use Sunscreen

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating a lot. Sunburn not only damages skin but also increases your body temperature, which can be detrimental when you’re trying to keep cool. Especially important if you are a ginger like me!

Adapt Your Pace

Don’t expect to beat your personal best in a heatwave. Heat affects your body’s ability to perform, so you may need to slow down and take it easier. Listen to your body and reduce your intensity as needed. Take breaks (or stop!) if you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseous.

Choose Your Route Wisely

If not staying in one place, try to select a route that offers shade. Parks with leafy trees, trails by rivers or lakes, or paths with tall buildings can provide much-needed respite from the sun. A looped route is advantageous as it allows you to stash water or other essentials you may need along the way.

Recognise the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion isn’t something to be taken lightly. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale, and clammy skin, fainting, and vomiting. If you experience these, it’s crucial to immediately stop exercising, find a cool place, drink water, and seek medical attention if needed.

Cool Down

After your workout, take time to cool down with light stretching or a slow walk. This helps regulate your body temperature and recovery. A cool shower can also be refreshing and lower your body temperature.

Exercising in the summer heat can be enjoyable if you prepare adequately and adjust your expectations. Remember, the goal is to stay active and healthy, not push yourself to the limit. So wear your sunscreen, carry your water bottle, and enjoy the sunny days responsibly – especially as the sun is finally here!!

I can help you…

I am Strength and Nutrition Coach for sports events and athletes – helping people like you to get fitter, stronger and faster:

Want to get stronger, fitter or gain muscle?