It’s the middle of summer and in different areas, extreme heat records are being shattered. If even the thought of going out for a walk or run makes you feel light-headed, it can be tempting to lay down under the air-conditioner and forget about everything except how to keep cool.
While it’s hot, though, it’s still important to maintain the exercise habits you’re been working to build. Of course, you’re not going to venture out into the midday sun and work up a sweat but there are things you can do – safely and effectively.
Firstly, be prepared
- Hydrate. Drink a lot. Keep drinking. Even if you’ve just started to glow instead of breaking into a full sweat, still drink a lot.
- Clothing. Your body’s temperature control is finely balanced. In the heat, you’ll sweat. It’s the evaporation of your sweat that helps to cool you down, so your clothing is an important consideration. Sweat-wicking fabrics are ideal, but if you don’t have clothing of this nature, opt for the greatest skin exposure possible.
- Time of day. Be smart about it: early mornings, even on the hottest days, can be a lovely time to exercise.
Then, decide on the specific exercise
- Swimming – this is obvious because the water will help keep you cool, but go back to point 3 above. Swimming in the middle of the day leaves you open to sunburn, and surprisingly can leave you dehydrated (see point 1 above). If you can’t swim (or you’re not a strong swimmer), deep water walking is great. If you’re chest-deep in water, walking requires a lot of muscles involvement.
- Stretching – many people neglect their stretching and flexibility exercises, so a hot day could be great time to do it especially if you can be under a fan or air-conditioning.
- Yin yoga – this is the slow-paced version where poses are held for longer periods.
- Strength training – using machines or weights is fine in the heat. Push yourself slowly through a full range of motion at the heaviest weight you can manage for 10 repetitions on each exercise.
- Early morning or evening walk
- Body weight exercise in air-conditioned comfort.
- Healthy Inspirations – we’ll welcome you whatever the weather, and the studios are comfortable and air-conditioned!
For those who like a more energetic style of exercise, pay attention to the signals your body gives. The hotter the weather, the less energy you have and so fatigue sets in faster. If you find that you feel tired or fatigued, slow down or stop. Have a drink and allow your body to cool down.
Remember that in most areas, the extreme heat lasts only a few days at a time. In areas where it lasts longer, it’s likely that you’ve acclimatised and so sweat more but retain water and electrolytes in the kidneys, have better maintenance of your core temperature, and have a lower heart rate at a given heat and exercise stress level. This is all good, so you live in a hot climate you’ll find exercise easier than will your southern visitors.
Whatever the weather, there is an exercise style to suit. Give it a try – you might just enjoy it.