#FitU with Phindi Gule: Six tips for exercising safely in hot weather

#FitU with Phindi Gule: Six tips for exercising safely in hot weather

Here are some quick and easy tips to keep you on track during those extreme summer months.

running in hot weather pexels

Listen to Tuesday's edition of #FitU, brought to you by Immunizer in the podcast, then read more below:

Exercising in hot weather increases your body temperature. Sure, our bodies have built-in cooling systems that help us adjust to heat, hence we perspire.

However, this natural cooling system can fail if we’re exposed to soaring temperatures for too long. The result may be heat exhaustion – that awful fatigue that makes you feel as if one more step could be your last – and even heat stroke.

Read: Five things holding you back from achieving your fitness goals

Here are some tips to keep you on track: 

Drink up    

Working out in hot weather isn’t easy, so don’t sabotage your fitness goals with calorie-dense sports drinks or juices. Water is usually your best option for hydration.

Another great way to help re-hydrate during a break in physical activity is to eat a piece of fruit, such as an apple, orange, carrots or celery sticks. Fruits and veggies will also help replace valuable electrolyte loss.

A good way to know that you’re hydrating properly is by checking the colour of your urine. If it’s pale yellow , you’re well hydrated. If it’s darker, then you should be drinking more water.

It also helps to listen to your body.

Ease up

Start your routine by taking it easy at first. Just accept the fact that you can’t do what you normally do.     

Whatever your fitness routine is, as your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the pace and length of your workout. If you have a medical condition or take prescription medications, ask your physician if you need to take any additional precautions. 

Avoid the hottest part of the day

For day-to-day training, rise early to catch the cool of the morning, go out at sunset or later. In the heat of midday, take cover under the shade. Also, try jumping into a pool to cool down or for a workout in the water.

Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing  

Dark colors absorb the heat, which can make you feel as if you’re wrapped in a warm blanket. Heavyweight, tight-fitting clothing will also heat you up. Keep it loose. Keep it light. More air will be able to circulate over your skin, keeping you cool.

Eat snacks to maintain energy    

Pick juicy snacks like fruit. The last thing you need in scorching heat are dry snacks like crackers, popcorn, or energy bars that require your body to add water. Plus, dry snacks are often dense with calories. 

Know when to say, 'I’m going inside'   

No doubt, the thought of not finishing your workout is not a good one but it may kill you if you try. Listen to your body.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, find shelter or an air-conditioned area fast.    

- Weakness

- Light-headedness

- Dizziness

- Paling of the skin

- Headache

- Muscle cramps

- Nausea or vomiting

- Rapid heartbeat

Remember that even a 20-minute workout has positive health effects. It’s the number of days you exercise that matters most. The frequency of days far outweighs the amount of time of any given exercise session.

Also read - #FitU with Phindi Gule: How to set a fitness goal

Finally, if it’s just too hot, stay indoors and do your resistance training.

For more tips and answer to all questions about running, find Phindi on Twitter - @PhindiGule

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