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6 Steps To Exercising Safely In The Heat

By Paula Vargas November 26, 2020

6 Steps To Exercising Safely In The Heat

2020 saw the beginning of new workout routines for many. With the coronavirus restrictions and mass gym closures, you had a couple of options. Exercise in your own home, exercise for a limited time outdoors, or not exercise at all! Though you may have missed your routine at the local gym, perhaps you got into the swing of some fun, alfresco workouts.

Now that restrictions are easing, you may be excited to rejoin your gym, or you may be inspired to keep up the outdoor workout sessions! Either way, as the summer heat approaches, it’s essential to know how to train correctly in the hotter weather. When you train effectively outdoors, you’ll get the most out of your session, and most importantly, you’ll stay safe under the unforgiving Australian sun.

1. Always remember your sunscreen

You’ve had this drummed into you since childhood - well, the advice remains the same, especially under the high UV conditions that we experience in Australia. If you’re looking to do some outdoor training, make sure you put on your sunscreen 20 minutes before you leave the house, and re-apply every 1-2 hours. 

Product recommendation:

  • Wotnot natural sunscreen 30+ SPF. Wotnot uses micronised Zinc Oxide (250mg/g) which reflects UV-A and UV-B rays, without needing chemical additives. This natural sunscreen is also suitable for sensitive skin and for babies!

2. Cool your body down before you leave the house

To make your summer workout more comfortable to manage, take a cold shower, and if you wash your hair, don’t dry it off. The cold water will help keep your body cooler when the heat takes over!

If you don’t have time for a shower, drink some cold water, or even use ice packs to cool yourself down before you get out there.

If you use a cap to train outside (a wise move!), you can soak it in water to keep your head cool, which is the most vital part of your body to keep from overheating. You can also soak your gym towel and place it over your head and neck!

Product recommendation:

3. Hydrate wisely

Try to drink the equivalent of a big water bottle per hour (approximately 750mls). When the weather is really hot, you can lose up to 3 litres of water! Along with your water bottle, if you’re looking to do intense exercise, or exercise for longer than an hour, then hydrating with electrolytes is going to help you feel energised and go further. You may want to skip your regular coffee here as well - the caffeine acts as a diuretic, so not only will you feel dehydrated sooner, but you’ll be stopping your training to find the nearest bathroom! 

Product recommendations:

4. Plan your workout times

If possible, designate your training time to ether before 10 am, or after 3 pm. Early morning or later afternoon training will help you to avoid the pitfalls of working out in the midday sun - higher UV rays, potentially poorer sports performance and a greater risk of heat-related illnesses.

Just as important as when to exercise, is where. Avoid direct heat if you can, there are plenty of shaded areas where you can still enjoy the benefits of being outside, whilst minimising the risks.

5. Make the most of your outdoor workouts with these accessories: 

When you're outdoors, you will be limited in terms of equipment. Use these resistance and power bands to get the most out of your cardio or strength session! They are super portable, require hardly any storage and can inspire a whole new range of exercise possibilities!

Product recommendations:

6. Take breaks or stop when needed

A little discomfort here and there is normal when exercising in the summer heat - however, you should be aware of the dangers. Heat exhaustion can carry serious repercussions. 

Signs of heat-related illness include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • A sense of confusion or irritability
  • Heart rate increases
  • Visual disturbances

If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to stop and cool your body down. Do you have someone training with you? Have this person monitor your condition. If the condition worsens, seek medical care immediately.

Final Thoughts

Training outdoors can be a lot of fun, especially if you're usually stuck inside! By making sure you take the steps to stay safe, you can reap the benefits of being out in the fresh air. The more you exercise outdoors, the more you acclimatise, so don't despair if you can't handle it straight away. Build it up slowly, and you can have a new way to make the most of summer!


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