Hot Baths, Popsicles, Vaseline: 10 Ways to Keep Exercising in a Heat Wave | Fitness

IIf the idea of ​​venturing into the heat to do something that makes you hotter seems unruly, it can be tempting to skip your workout. However, with a few tweaks, you can stick to your workout routine and feel as if you’re developing an uncanny ability to stay cool. Here are some expert tips on how to deal with the heat.

A hot bath can help you stay acclimated.
A hot bath can help you stay acclimated. Photography: Barry Diomedy/Almy

Your body adapts

Although bouts of hot weather may become More regular occurrence in the future, we are still not used to it in the UK. You can adapt, says Claire Loeb, senior physiologist and technical leader at the English Institute of Sport. At the start of a heat wave, don’t go straight into your regular long run or tennis match. “You want exposure every day for at least a week to get acclimated,” she says. Start with about 20 minutes of exercise, adding five or 10 more minutes each day. “All the science suggests that raising your core body temperature by 1.5 degrees, or about 38.5 degrees Celsius, and maintaining it for an hour, is effective in helping your body to acclimatise.” It’s what top athletes do, she says, to prepare physiologically for high temperatures, as in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For the rest of us, it’s more about feeling comfortable. Studies have indicated that women take longer to adapt to heat than men. In the UK, by the time you adjust, it may rain again, but you can maintain acclimatization by taking a hot bath every three days (again, gradually increasing the duration). This could be a bit too far – are you training for the World Cup in the heat of Qatar or a five-a-week weekend?

Woman running in the garden with the sun shining behind her
Get out before 9am to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Photo: SaGa / Alamy

Work out early in the day

If possible, run or exercise first thing in the morning, when it’s cooler. says Oliver Gibson, Senior Lecturer in Physiology at Brunel University London and lead author of A review of heat mitigation strategies for athletes. At any later time, he says, and: “Although the temperature may have increased only a few degrees, with the sun in the higher regions of the sky, you get a lot of solar radiation – direct sunlight – on you, which will add more Heat stress and discomfort.

Don’t push yourself

Set your pace. In hot temperatures, even elite athletes do, Loeb says. Gibson agrees. When it’s hot, don’t chase your best, he said: “Especially in the UK, when we’re hit by these uncommon heat waves, just accept that your times can be a bit slow for a week.” He adds that you will still get the benefit. “Because you’re hot, your cardiovascular system is still working hard, because it’s also working to remove some heat from the body. So you might run slowly for a minute a mile but the fact that your heart rate is 10 beats per minute higher means you don’t You still get the same training effect.” If you run a shorter distance, it may be tempting to push yourself harder, “which could mean you get hotter, more tired, and you might just make yourself feel fine.”

Look by cooler

Gibson suggests that if you can exercise in greenery or by the water. “It would be two or three degrees cooler than it would be in a concrete urban area,” he says.

Carry water to reduce the risk of dehydration.
Carry water to reduce the risk of dehydration. Photography: Prostock-studio / Alamy

Stay hydrated

By ensuring you’re getting hydrated properly before you start exercising, “the body isn’t under stress from the first minute of activity,” says Gibson. Have a drink 20 minutes before you start. Try to drink while exercising. When you start to feel thirsty, you are usually already dehydrated. So you have to be more proactive and say, “Every five or 10 minutes, I’m going to take a sip.” Get dehydrated – drink right after your workout. Sports drinks will help your body retain fluids a little faster, he adds, but water will “100% do the job.” “Another drink that’s often overlooked is milk, which is really a great treat because it’s high in protein and electrolytes.”

Weather fit dress

What you’re wearing can help cool down the heat, Gibson says, and suggests “wear a jacket instead of a shirt, choose light colors to reflect some of the sun, and wear a hat.” He says technical fabrics are better than cotton at wicking sweat and keeping you cool. You need sunscreen, especially if more skin is exposed. To prevent sweating, choose something waterproof, says Loeb, “and put it on 20 or 30 minutes before your run, so it’s actually absorbed into your skin a little bit.” Don’t forget the sunglasses.

Applying petroleum jelly or gel can help prevent chafing.
Applying petroleum jelly or gel can help prevent chafing. Photography: Tanya C. Smith/Almy

prevent anger

If you’re prone to chafing in hot weather, before exercising, use “Vaseline, gel, or any type of lubricant,” says Loeb. Tight clothing may help, but “in some cases, it can make it worse, because you create more friction.” This is where sweat-absorbent fabrics are better than cotton, as they stay wet on the skin and increase irritation.

Try something different

Although you need to be careful when exercising in hot weather, Gibson says, that shouldn’t stop you from exercising. “If you participate in certain sports, you may need to be extra careful with your equipment and activity levels — layers of protective clothing in sports like soccer or field hockey can increase heat stress,” he says. But a heat wave can be an opportunity to try something new – swap running for a swim, for example. Gibson recommends cycling. “Because you’re traveling faster, you get more airflow, so it may be more helpful in cooling you down.”

A man on a bicycle with sunset in the background
As you speed on the bike, the airflow it generates cools you down. Photography: Dmytro Sedlnikov / Alami

Watch out for sunstroke

Loeb advises that the first signs that your temperature “will be things like heavy sweating but shivering at the same time, your heart rate will rise a lot (maybe much higher than you would expect for this effort), feeling sick or vomiting, pale skin, headaches, and may You also get cramps in extreme circumstances.” Once you progress, you may start to feel disoriented, disoriented, or irrational. “It can be hard to spot it in yourself, but you can recognize it in someone else if it’s really hot,” says Loeb, so consider exercising with a friend.

cool yourself

The goal, Loeb says, is to lower your basal body temperature. “Slush or popsicles are really effective. Another way your body cools itself is evaporative cooling. The moisture on your skin evaporates, resulting in a cooling effect.” Sweating will do the trick, but a mist spray can help, too. Cool your head and hands, “because you’re more sensitive in those areas, so you can almost trick your body into thinking it’s colder than it is by putting your hands in a bucket of ice or getting something cold on your face, or around the head and neck area.” Once, then, when a “cool wet towel” sounds like fun.