Hot baths, popsicles, petroleum jelly: 10 ways to keep working out during a heatwave | Health

IIf the idea of ​​venturing into the heat and doing something that will make you hotter seems crazy, it might be tempting to skip a workout. Still, with a few tweaks, you can stick with your workout routine and feel as if you’re developing a superhuman ability to stay calm. Here’s some expert advice on what to do with the heat.

Taking a hot bath can help you acclimate.
Taking a hot bath can help you acclimate. Photography: Barry Diomede/Alamy

adapt to your body

While there may be more frequent hot weather in the future, we’re still not used to it in the UK. Claire Loeb, senior physiologist and head of technology at the British Institute of Sport, says you can adapt. Don’t go straight to your usual long-distance running or tennis matches at the start of a heatwave. “You want to be exposed daily for at least a week to acclimate,” she says. Start with about 20 minutes of exercise and increase by 5 or 10 minutes each day. “All the science has shown is that raising your core temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius, or as high as about 38.5 degrees Celsius, for an hour, can effectively help your body adjust to the environment.” That’s how elite athletes are physiologically prepared for heat, she said. things done, such as at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For the rest of us, it’s more about feeling comfortable. Research shows that women take longer than men to get used to the heat. In the UK, it may be raining again once you’ve adjusted, but you can stay acclimated by taking a hot shower every three days (again, gradually increasing the duration). It might be too much – are you training for the World Cup in Qatar, or a weekend futsal?

A woman runs in the park with the sun rising behind her
Get outside before 9am to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Photo: SaGa/Alamy

exercise earlier in the day

If possible, run or exercise first thing in the morning when the weather is much cooler. Anything before 9 a.m. will work, says Oliver Gibson, senior lecturer in exercise physiology at Brunel University in London and lead author of the Athlete’s Review of Cooling Strategies. A little later, he said, and: “While the temperature may have only increased by a few degrees, as the sun is in the higher parts of the sky, you get a lot of solar radiation — direct sunlight — on you, which can Adds more heat stress and discomfort.”

don’t force yourself

Dial back your pace. At higher temperatures, even elite athletes do this, Lobb said. Gibson agrees. Instead of chasing personal bests when it’s hot, he said: “Especially in the UK when we have these unfamiliar heat waves, just accept that for a week, your time can be a little slow.” He added, You will still benefit from it. “Because you’re hot, your cardiovascular system is still working hard because it’s also trying to get rid of some of your body’s heat. So you might be running a mile slower for a minute, but your heart rate is 10 beats per minute higher. The truth means you’re still getting the same training effect.” If you run shorter, you may push yourself harder, “which may mean you’re getting hotter, more fatigued, and may make yourself less Comfortable”.

Find cooler routes

Gibson suggests that you should exercise on green spaces or water if you can. “It’s going to be two to three degrees cooler than in concrete urban areas,” he said.

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

stay hydrated

By making sure you’re properly hydrated before you start exercising, “the body doesn’t get stressed from the first minute of exercise,” Gibson said. Have a drink 20 minutes before you start. “Try to drink while you’re exercising. When you start to feel thirsty, you’re usually pretty dehydrated. So you need to be more proactive and say, ‘Every five to ten minutes, I’ll take a sip.'” If you can, Carry a bottle of water with you – you’ll inevitably get dehydrated when exercising for a long time – drink it right after your workout. Sports drinks will help your body retain fluid faster, but water “will 100% do the job,” he added. “Another beverage that is often overlooked is milk, which is a really good rehydration agent because it’s fairly high in protein and electrolytes.”

dress for the weather

Clothes you wear can help with the heat, says Gibson, who recommends “wearing a tank top instead of a T-shirt, choosing light colors to reflect some sunlight, and wearing a hat.” He says technical fabrics wick away sweat better than cotton, making you feel cooler. You need sunscreen, especially if more of your skin is exposed. To prevent sweating, choose something waterproof, “and put it on 20 or 30 minutes before your run so it’s already absorbed a bit into your skin,” says Lobb. Don’t forget sunglasses.

Apply petroleum jelly or gel to help prevent chafing.
Apply petroleum jelly or gel to help prevent chafing. Photo: Tanya C Smith/Alamy

prevent scratching

If you’re prone to chafing in hot weather, apply “Vaseline, gel, or any type of lubricant,” Lobb says, before exercising. Close-fitting clothing can help, but “in some cases you can make it worse because you’re creating more friction”. This is where sweat-wicking fabrics are better than cotton, which keeps the skin moist and increases irritation.

try something different

While you need to be careful when exercising in the heat, it shouldn’t stop you from exercising, Gibson said. “If you play some sports, you may need to be more careful with your gear and activity level — wearing several layers of protective clothing in sports like American football or hockey can increase heat stress,” he said. But a heatwave can be an opportunity to try something new — swap running for swimming, for example. Gibson recommends cycling. “Because you’re traveling faster, you’re getting more airflow, so it might help you cool down more.”

cyclist with sunset in the background
When you speed up your bike, the airflow you create keeps you cool. Photo: Dmytro Sidelnikov/Alamy

Be careful of heat stroke

Lobb advises that the first signs that you’re overheating “will be like sweating profusely but shaking at the same time, your heart rate is very high (probably a lot higher than you expected), feeling nausea or vomiting, pale skin, headaches, and in extreme cases You might also get cramps.” Once it progresses, you may start to feel confused, disoriented, or irrational. You might have trouble spotting it in yourself, “but you can spot it in others if they get too hot,” says Lobb, so consider exercising with a friend.

calm yourself down

The goal, says Lobb, is to lower your core body temperature. “Slush or popsicles are really effective. Another way of cooling the body is evaporative cooling. The moisture on the skin evaporates, creating a cooling effect.” Sweating is okay, but a spray can also help. Cool your head and hands,” since you’re more sensitive in these areas, you can pretty much trick your body into thinking it’s cooler than putting your hands in a bucket of ice or putting some cool on your face Something cooler, or around the head and neck.” Well, there was one time, when “cold wet towels” sounded like a treat.

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