In the height of an Aussie summer, Mother Nature certainly lets us know what she thinks. With top temperatures anywhere from mid-30s to 40°C+ all over Australia, lots of 12WBT members ask about hot weather exercise. If the bitumen is burning, will you melt too if you head out to exercise? We have the answers!
Exercising when it is hot can be dangerous. It puts extra stress on your body and can lead to heatstroke and heat exhaustion, both of which can be deadly. Here are 5 top tips from our exercise expert Fit Tim to help you look after yourself and exercise safely when it is hot!
1. Timing is Key
Whatever you do, don’t exercise in the middle of the day (unless it is in an indoor pool!) Keep an eye on the weather forecast and schedule your exercise ahead, so it’s either early in the morning or later at night. That might mean you need to set your alarm for a 5am to 6am or 6am until 7am session. You might skip some sleep but you should also be skipping the really intense and dangerous heat!
2. Head Inside for Tough Workouts
Exercising inside is really ideal at this time and you might want to take any intensive cardio workouts to an airconditioned gym. Alternatively, put an exercise DVD on at home or head to the pool for some laps or some water jogging. Maybe this is your chance to give aqua aerobics a chance!
If you do plan to exercise outside adjust your workout intensity to be less vigorous, take frequent breaks and try to stay in the shade. It might be best to concentrate on toning exercises – early morning outside pilates, yoga or some light weights – rather than a full on, super calorie busting workout!
3. Wear a Hat!
If you are training outside wear sunscreen and also a hat – even if you are in the shade! Keep soaking the hat in water to help keep your temperature down. It might also not be a bad idea to wear a visor instead of a cap to help let some of the heat escape from the top.
Freeze an extra bottle of water and take it with you so you always have icy cool water on hand. But you might want to wrap it in a hand towel so the condensation doesn’t wet everything in your backpack or handbag!
4. Water the Roots and the Leaves!
When the heat is on you need to keep your body temperature down. Some athletes chew on ice cubes before a workout. Take a spray bottle with water with you and keep spritzing yourself when you are hot. Pour cool water over your head and face whenever you can and have a cold shower post-workout to take the edge of your body heat.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drink PLENTY of water! On a normal day generally it’s recommended you drink 30ml for every kg you weigh, so if you weigh 100kg, you should drink 3L per day. If you are 70kg you should drink over 2L.
Typically you would add at least a 1L for every hour of exercise you do. When it is super hot common sense would imply that you probably want to have some more than that!
Don’t wait until you start working out to hydrate, make sure you drink plenty of water well before and then after any exercise so you remain continually hydrated.
Number one rule. Use your common sense! Listen to your body! If you feel dizzy, nauseous, confused, have muscle cramps or experience vomiting STOP exercising and get into the shade!
You may be experiencing heat stress so get out of the heat and drink plenty of water. For tips on dealing with and identifying heat-related illness check out this article on the Victorian government’s Better Health Channel website.
Be safe and be sensible. One day of missed exercise when it’s sizzling outside is better than ending up at the doctor!
This has been the hardest part for me over Christmas. I am a Dr and teach fitness classes but don’t have air-con at home. WA this year has been roasting, with no break at night. I don’t like the drying out feeling of air-con and so never had it put in, but I am feeling so drained after workouts and even with electrolyte replacement am having a lot of difficulties staying hydrated.
This is a tricky one! As you would know from your medical and your group fitness training it is really really important to keep your hydration up and electrolyte levels. If you are still feeling drained after workouts in this heat maybe you need to adjust the intensity of your workouts. Or it might be a case that you should check in with a doctor yourself??
Our 12WBT nutritionist Georgie will get a response back to you too as this is her area of expertise!