Particularly for those of us based in the UK, the summer finally presents an opportunity to exercise in the great outdoors. For the majority of the year, we’re cooped up in indoor gyms. When summer arrives, all of this changes.
Of course, it also brings several risks, the main being the weather. Through today’s post, we’ll now look at some of the best ways you can mitigate against such risks and make your exercise much safer during the summer months.
Know your limits
The first thing to do is know your limits. If you’re used to exercising indoors, in a cool environment, don’t try and do too much too soon during hot weather. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your body becomes more acclimatised to the heat.
Remember, these limits are going to change every day. With the infamous UK weather in mind, one day it might be 33°, whereas the next day, this figure could be cut in half. This will significantly impact your exercise capacity – and you shouldn’t expect to attain the same performance levels between days.
Cloudy days can even pose a sun risk
Many people think that, as long as it’s cloudy, they’re not going to get burnt. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can still penetrate through clouds, which means you’re still at risk of burning if you don’t apply sunscreen.
Ask any trusted medical expert or health insurer; the rule is simple. Apply sunscreen every day. It might feel ridiculous when the heavens are opening as you head out of the front door, but in the interests of safety, it’s a completely worthwhile tactic to follow.
Drink, drink and drink some more
This should go without saying, but make sure you’re drinking enough water. When you’re exercising in hot weather, you’re going to sweat – a lot. This will lead to a significant loss of fluids from your body, which needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume around 3.7 litres of fluids daily, whereas women are advised to drink 2.7 litres. This figure goes up when you factor in exercise, so ensure you drink before, during and after your workout.
Avoid the midday sun
When the sun is at its hottest, generally between 11am and 3pm, it’s best to avoid exercising outdoors. If you need to exercise during this time, try to find some shade, or at the very least, make sure you’re wearing loose, light-coloured clothing.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is a condition that can occur when your body overheats. The symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately, find some shade and drink some water. It’s a timeout for now.