Exercising in the summer sun

Summer is the perfect time to get outside in the fresh air and have some fun in the sun. In the UK, it’s one of the only times that we spend so much time outdoors, with longer days and warmer weather.

But summer heatwaves can cause problems if we aren’t careful, particularly if you aren’t used to such extreme weather. Even ‘easy’ forms of exercise can feel much tougher as the temperature rises.

Here are some of the ways you can protect yourself in the summer heat

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

It might seem obvious to drink plenty of water during a workout, but you might not have realised how important it is to stay hydrated before and after a workout too.

Can’t tell if you’re well-hydrated? It may not be the most glamorous tip, but one way to find out if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine. If it’s clear, you’re good to go.

2. Replenish after you’ve exercised

Exercising in the hot weather will almost certainly mean you are producing more sweat. A post workout-snack such as bananas and nuts can help to replenish nutrients such as sodium, calcium, and potassium.

3. Dress appropriately

It’s clear that exercising in a hoodie isn’t the best idea, but the colour of your clothing can also make a difference. Light-coloured clothing is best for the hot weather as it doesn’t absorb as much of the sun’s heat.

Sometimes it’s not as easy to reduce the clothing that you need to wear. If your activity requires equipment such as protective padding or a helmet, don’t ditch these! Shorting the intensity and duration of your workout might be the best option for you instead.

4. Protect your skin

With more skin exposed to the sun, remember to wear your sunscreen. A water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 is ideal. Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before exposure to the sun, and reapply according to package directions.

5. Time of day can make a big difference

The hottest part of the day tends to be between 10am to 3pm. It will feel much fresher (and be much more enjoyable) if you can exercise early in the morning, or last thing in the evening.

6. Stick to the shade

There are some wonderful shaded routes around the city if you are heading out. Shaded trails and pathways that keep you cool and out of the sun are a great option when you need to get outside on the hottest of days

7. Check the weather forecast

It’s important that you know what to expect. If there is a heat advisory, it might be best to stay indoors for your workout to protect yourself.

8. Listen to your body

Most importantly, listen to how your body is feeling. If you are feeling dizzy, faint, nauseous, weak or excessively sweaty, stop!

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