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How to work out in a heatwave – is it safe?

It’s getting hot. Really hot. And none of us can cope.

Sleeping is impossible, commuting is a nightmare, sex is a no-no. We were not built for this.

But what about working out? How on earth do you go about exercising when the temperature climbs to the dizzying heights of 30 degrees and above? And is it even safe to workout in a heatwave?

The thought of purposefully making yourself warmer than necessary during a heatwave might seem like sheer lunacy – but when you have fitness goals to stick to, you really don’t want a little bit of heat to knock you off course. And if you’re smart and safe about it, there are ways to keep exercising – even when it’s blistering outside.

It’s tempting to ditch the gym altogether when it’s hot. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are real concerns – particularly when you’re not used to the hot weather.

So we asked the experts how to do it right; get the most out of your workout without putting yourself at risk.

David Wiener, training specialist at fitness app Freeletics shares his dos and don’ts of working out in a heatwave:

Forget your PB

Exercising in the hot weather puts an extra strain on the body, so it’s important to know your limits, and pay close attention to your body and what it needs.

If at any time you feel lightheaded, it’s best to stop training or significantly reduce the intensity until you’re feeling better.

It’s also really important to remember that the heat will affect your workout, so don’t push yourself too hard, and take regular breaks so that your body can cool down and you can take on water.

Be an early bird

An early morning workout is always a better option in the hot weather. Not only does it set you up for the day, it is also far cooler at dawn then it is at sunset, with higher levels of humidity towards the end of the day.

Even in the morning try to protect yourself from the sun and work out in shaded areas.

Drink up

Guidelines state that you should be drinking between six – eight glasses of water each day, which equates to around two litres.

In the summer months, try to up this to around ten glasses to ensure you’re properly fuelling your body, especially if you’re working out.

If you’re doing moderate exercise for less than an hour, water should be fine to ensure you do not become dehydrated, but anything more intense will require an isotonic sports drinks to guarantee you’re replenishing your body properly.

It’s also a good idea to carry a cloth which you can dampen to cool your head and neck.

Be mindful about your workout

In the heat of the summer, be mindful of the kinds of exercises you do.

Try swapping your long run for intense interval training, but again make sure you are training at the coolest times of day.

This kind circuit training is quick and effective, also leaving you feeling energised to tackle the day ahead.

Choose sweat wicking, breathable fabrics

Opt for breathable, lightweight, and light-coloured workout attire that permits sweat to evaporate, so that you can cool down effectively.

Not only will these types of materials help you stay cooler during your workout, but they can help you avoid the skin irritation, breakouts, or heat rashes.

Replace lost nutrients

It’s likely that you’ll sweat more when training in a heat wave, so it’s important to take steps to
replenish and restore the nutrients your body will lose through excess sweating.

Be mindful of your meals and strive to eat whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. These foods will prevent lethargy and help with any cramping or muscles fatigue while training.

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