We’re Having a Heatwave
We are having a very hot summer here in Central Victoria, with many days reaching temperatures over 40C. These days of extreme heat cause so much stress where I live, as we are in a very high bushfire danger area. I do worry about fires and our animals, on those days when the mercury climbs outrageously high. Especially when I have to be at work and can’t be home to watch over things.
As a regular exerciser, much of it being outdoors, I am severely impacted with the days of extreme heat and high fire danger days. My exercise routine needs to revolve around work hours which can be difficult at times like this.
My Hot Weather Tips
Exercise during the coolest part of the day: The cool of early mornings or late evening are the best times to exercise in summer. I find that I have more energy in the early mornings, as the hot day hasn’t as yet, depleted my energy levels. To exercise in the evening, it’s often necessary to wait until very late for the cool change. Sometimes by then, after a long, hot day, I really struggle to find the energy for an exercise session. For this reason I prefer to stick with my usual routine ofearly mornings in the gym, before work.
Modify your exercise: If you usually run, perhaps you could try walking. Summer is a good time to introduce swimming into your routine. Do you have access to a fitness centre with a pool? If so check out their classes. Water aerobics or deep water running classes are a great way to keep fit and to introduce variety into your exercise program. Have you considered adding yoga or a session of stretching to your program? They are another option for a abeneficial session on a hot day.
Drink water: This is so so important. Don’t let yourself become dehydrated. Drink before you start to feel thirsty. If you’re feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. So try to think ahead and sip on small amounts during the day.
Eat a healthy diet: It’s a good idea to add extra fresh fruit & vegetables to your diet during hot weather. They are mostly made up of water and will help to keep you hydrated. I have found that eating a high sugar diet makes me feel hotter and dehydrated. I cope much better with hot weather when eating a healthy diet. I usually eat more fruit than usual in summer, especially berries, as they also help to avoid dehydration.
Cooling Scarf: The scarf is put in the fridge or freezer for a period of time before use. It’s particularly good when walking or cycling, as it absorbs sweat and the cooling effect lasts for a while. Most stores specialising in outdoors equipment for hiking etc sell them.
Put Your Safety First
For safety sake we really should make adjustments to our usual routines. In my life, exercise is really important, and is part of my day on most days. But I do recognise the need for safety. If the temperature is unusually hot, it really isn’t going to hurt our long term health goals to do something less strenuous or even to take a day of rest. The heat usually doesn’t last for long, and we can always catch up safely later.
I love the hot weather and really do enjoy exercising outdoors during the hottest part of the day. But I don’t do it, as I recognise that it isn’t safe. Just to to illustrate how dangerous it is, my friend Ros at age 35 was superfit and ran every day without fail. She made the decision on New Years Day about 20 years ago, to go for a run when the temperature was around 40. Very sadly she collapsed and died on that day. So I think of Ros, whenever I’m tempted to exercise outdoors in extreme heat.
The above info is just my experience of coping with extreme heat. If you are new to exercise please see your doctor first. He/she will give you the go ahead to exercise and also give you further advice to exercise safely in hot weather, or at any other time.
How do you cope with exercising in summer? I’d love you to join in the conversation and promise to reply to all comments