Chill out! 8 Ways to keep your cool during your summer workouts
Warmer weather is finally here, which means sunny days and nights, but also higher temperatures and humidity which can play havoc with your fitness regime, if you're not careful. Here in the UK the weather can be a bit unpredictable, which means we're not really used to working out in high temperatures, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. It may not reach 30 degrees in your part of the country, but if you're running in a busy city, it can often feel hotter than it actually is.
With light nights and plenty of sunshine, you're more likely to feel motivated to workout during the spring and summer months, and we want you to stay safe, healthy and happy whilst you're doing it! Summer is a great time to take your workout outdoors, and we've got 6 tips to help you keep your cool during summer workouts - ready to get started?
#1. Invest in new workout gear
Keeping your cool in soaring temperatures is all about what you wear. Look for natural, breathable fabrics and workout gear with wicking properties which pulls moisture away from the skin and helps you to stay feeling cool and fresh. Whether you're training for a marathon or heading for a yoga class, wicking fabric is a must during the summer months! If it's really sunny on your morning run, wearing a hat can help to keep the sun off your face and head.
#2. Be flexible with your workout
On scorching summer days, there are plenty of cooler workouts you can swap for your regular run. Swimming in cool water, biking in a shaded area or even some outdoor yoga or pilates are all great alternatives, so don't be afraid to try something new or mix and match your workouts depending on the weather.
#3. Keep drinking water
Don't just hydrate before and after a workout - it's even more important to stay hydrated when it's hot out there! Exercising in the heat puts you at risk of heat stroke, with symptoms such as stomach cramps, headaches and dizziness. So start sipping - aim for 4oz to 8oz water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout.
#4. Try HIIT
Summer is a great time to try shorter, more intense workouts, whether you're already a fan of HIIT or are new to the idea. You don't want to push yourself too hard when it's 25 degrees out there, so try shortening your workouts or splitting them up. Two or three 15-minute workouts where you're working hard is better than an exhausting 30 minutes which leaves you dehydrated.
#5. Stay indoors
Yes, all that sunshine is great to boost your mood and your vitamin D levels, but if it really is too hot out there, don't feel guilty about taking your workout indoors. Head for an air-conditioned gym or fitness class! If monthly gym membership isn't within your budget, a workout DVD at home is a good alternative.
#6. Exercise smarter, not harder
The coolest parts of the day - morning and early evening - are the best times for an outdoor run or workout during the spring and summer. That may mean skipping your regular lunchtime workout and getting up earlier for a morning run, or heading to fitness boot camp after work. When humidity or temperatures are high, decrease the intensity of your workout and try to stay out of direct sun. Too much sun and not enough water could lead to heat stroke!
#7. Ease into hotter weather
Heading out for an hour-long run on the first day the weather is hot isn't a good move. On average, your body takes between 4 and 14 days to acclimatise to warmer weather, so keep your workouts short and ease into the hotter weather gradually, building up as you get used to exercising in higher temperatures and humidity.
#8. Scout out cooler spots
If you usually pound the asphalt in your neighbourhood on your morning run, consider heading somewhere cooler for your workout. Lucky enough to live near a beach? It could be nice and cool there in the mornings. Shaded woods or anywhere near the coast or water are great spots for a run or morning workout and will be cooler than sunny streets.
Ready to get going? Don't forget to pack your water bottle for your workout. Taking a cold shower before you head out - we know it might seem a bit strange showering before a workout - can also help and leaving your hair wet and tying it up could help you keep your cool during your workout!