If you've spent the winter months willing your body into beach-ready condition, you'll know that fitness is a lifestyle, not a fad. It's all about incorporating exercise into your year-round routine, even when it's stifling outside. That's why we've come up with 5 must-do's to help you beat the heat whilst staying fit this summer.
1. Stay Hydrated
We’ve all heard that it’s important to stay hydrated, but why is it so important? Well, it’s a fact that water is the solvent for most of your body’s biochemical processes. Put simply, water is vital for hydration and digestion. It transports nutrients to and from your cells, and helps regulate heat, process waste and circulate blood around your body. It’s also a major part of your muscle and vital organ mass, comprising around 70% of your lean body weight. Suffice to say, drinking enough water is pretty important!
How much is enough?
According to the Australian Institute of Sport, fluid requirements vary significantly based on factors such as genetics, size, fitness levels, conditions and exercise intensity. But, you can work out how much water you should drink by weighing yourself before and after exercise.
Each kilogram (kg) of weight lost during your session equates to 1 litre of fluid. So, if you lose 1 kg during your session, whilst drinking 1 litre of water, you’ll have lost 2 litres of fluid. You’ll need to drink enough to replace this lost fluid. It’s logical to drink water when you're feeling thirsty, but in extreme conditions that may not be enough to prevent serious dehydration.
A fluid replacement plan will help make sure you’re getting enough, but not too much water during exercise. Water alone will not replace all of the nutrients lost in sweat during intense exercise. Adding 10% carbohydrate to water helps to stimulate fluid intake and improve your body’s fluid absorption.
2. Get an early start
Starting your session before 9am in the morning is the best way to beat the heat. High temperatures, humidity and pollution are most intense during the middle of the day, so working out before 9am or after 7pm is the best way to minimise these environmental impacts.
3. Get driMotion
Excessive sweat is arguably one of the least pleasant aspects of exercise, especially during the summer. There is literally nothing worse than your gear rubbing against your skin as you run, causing clamminess, chaffing and extreme discomfort. Enter driMotion a high performance, quick-drying fabric that wicks sweat away from your body, helping you feel dry and comfortable.
4. Protect your skin
Most Kiwis and Aussies have heard the slip slop slap message dozens of times, but how many of us are still guilty of being a little complacent when it comes to sun protection?
The beauty of the message though, is in its simplicity. Slip on some gear, slop 30+ water-resistant sunscreen about 20 minutes before you go outside (and reapply every 2 hours), and slap on a hat and some sunnies to protect your peepers. You should also seek out shade where possible too. Choose tree-lined parks or trails and make the most of the natural heat and UV protection their canopy provides.
5. Listen to your body
Heatstroke is one of the biggest dangers to physical activity during the summertime. Essentially, heat exhaustion happens when your body gets too hot. The tell-tale signs of heatstroke include rapid heart rate, dehydration, disorientation, dizziness, muscle cramps and dry, itchy skin. If you experience any of these symptoms during a session, stop.
Under normal circumstances it’s important to try to push yourself, but in extreme conditions, listen to your body. Ignoring the warning signs could result in vomiting, upset stomach, unconsciousness or much worse.