High temperatures can make summer workouts pretty unbearable for us Brits. It’s not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Overheating could lead to cramping or even heatstroke. Here’s some tips from the Third Space Sports Medical team to keep you cool this summer.
How To Train In The Heat
- Get Ahead Of The Heat – The fitter you are, the better your body can tolerate exercise in hot conditions, so try to build your fitness to a high level in the spring, before the first heat wave of the year. When the first really hot day comes, reduce the intensity, volume or duration of your workout slightly. On each subsequent hot day start ramping it back up again. It takes about 10 days for your body to fully acclimatize to the heat.
- Reschedule Your Workout – If training outside, try to train early in the morning or late in the evening when the day is at its coolest. Or head to your nearest Third Space club and hide in the air con.
- Dress To Sweat – Sweating is the body’s primary cooling mechanism, so be sure to wear clothes that allow your body to do its job. Avoid wearing cotton as it traps sweat and prevents the dispersion of heat. Instead wear technical apparel that is designed for moisture-wicking. Light colours that reflect the sun are also preferable.
- Hot Head – Keeping your head cool is one of the most important things for any long run in the sun. Cream up, but we also recommend wearing a cap and soaking it – and yourself. As you run, the water will evaporate cooling your skin. A wet bandana or headband will also do the trick if caps aren’t your style. Bring a bottle of water and periodically pour some on your head to keep up the cooling effects.
- Stay hydrated – Consume a minimum of 500ml of fluid per hour of activity (and continue to rehydrate after). Try to sip little and often to maximise water retention and include both electrolytes (particularly sodium) and sugars in your fluid. Rehydrating with plain water can dilute plasma sodium levels to lower concentrations thereby further compounding the negative effects of dehydration. Sports drinks may come in handy here.
How To Sleep In The Heat
- Say No To Napping – Hot weather can make us feel lethargic during the day because we are using more energy to regulate our internal temperature. But napping during the day will make it more difficult to get to sleep when you really need to.
- Optimise Your Environment – The optimal atmospheric temperature for sleeping is 16-18°C. Without a decent air conditioning system this is a fallacy. Instead try drawing the curtains or blinds to keep the sun out during the day. Make sure you close the windows on the sunny side of your home, to keep hot air out and open all the windows before you go to bed, to get a through breeze.
- Use Thin Sheets – Strip back your bedding – and your clothing – but keep covers handy. However hot your bedroom may be, your body temperature will fall during the night. That’s why we sometimes wake up feeling cold.
- Chill Your Socks – You may not like the sound of a fan whilst trying to fall asleep but the breeze it creates encourages the evaporation of sweat and makes it easier for your body to regulate your internal temperature. Alternatively, cool your socks in the fridge and put those on. Cooling your feet lowers the overall temperature of your skin and body.
- Live With It – Most of us need about seven to eight hours of good-quality sleep each night to function properly. But remember that night last week when you got back home after a few too many and got maybe a few hours’ sleep at best. Well you are reading this article so you got through it. You might yawn a little more frequently than usual, but you’ll probably be fine if you don’t get a full 8 hours.