Ways to stay active in the heat

Summer is a great time to be active. But when the temperature gets really hot, you may feel more like sitting in an air-conditioned room and eating ice cream than exercising in the sun.

Motivation can suffer during a particularly hot summer as much as it can during the colder months. So here’s what you can do to boost your fitness intentions when it’s sweltering outside:

Get a check-up Exercising in hot weather can be very risky if you suffer from a health problem. Always check with your GP before starting any new fitness programme if you’re new to exercise, if you have a medical condition or if you’re older.

Warm up Even when it’s hot, warm up before you launch into any type of activity. Start with a few minutes of gentle movements to get your body used to working in the heat. Then don’t forget to cool down when you’ve finished.

Start early When it’s too hot to exercise in the middle part of the day, set your alarm earlier than usual with the aim of getting active first thing in the morning, before the heat starts to rise (the hottest part of the day is between 11am and 3pm).

Or start late Exercising outdoors when the sun has gone down can make you feel more comfortable too. Try ending your day with a brisk evening stroll, or look for sports groups to join that meet at night.

Dress light Lightweight, loose-fitting clothes can help keep you cool especially if they’re made from moisture-wicking fabrics. If you’re planning to take part in outdoor activities when the sun is out, don’t forget to use plenty of sweat-resistant sun cream and wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat or visor. Read our 10 top sun protection tips for more details.

Stay indoors You can also keep your cool by exercising indoors – preferably in an air-conditioned gym. If you’re not a gym member, work out at home instead: keep your curtains or blinds shut to keep your room as cool as possible and switch your fan on if you have one.

Head to the pool… There’s nothing like a dip in a cool indoor swimming pool when it’s hot outside, plus you can get a really good work-out in the water. Try a water aerobics class if you’re not a fan of swimming laps. Some swimming pools may also have activities such as water volleyball on offer too – these are all great ways to work your muscles, heart and lungs.

… or your nearest shopping centre If you live in a city there’s a good chance you have an air-conditioned shopping centre nearby. If so, put on your trainers and do a few circuits (you may even spot a great bargain while you’re there).

Drink plenty of water You’re bound to sweat more when the weather’s hot, so make sure you don’t become dehydrated. Even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty it’s important to drink water before, during and after exercising (make sure you have a bottle of water with you if you’re not at home).

Look out for signs of mild dehydration such as feeling thirsty, having a dry mouth, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, or having a headache or muscle cramps. If you notice any of these signs, stop and replenish your fluid levels.

Meanwhile if you feel you’re overheating, find a place in the shade to take a break – don’t try to push through.

Buddy up If you’re struggling to keep yourself motivated, try finding a training partner – the competition and the camaraderie may help get you going when the going gets hot.

Your local Careway pharmacist has lots more tips on staying active during the summer months, and can give you advice about heat-related exercise injuries such as foot blisters and heat rashes. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.