Warm weather and humidity make your body work harder and, as a result, exercise more taxing. You'll put more strain on your heart and lungs, which increases your heart rate and makes you sweat more.
No big deal, just slap on some sunscreen and head out for your usual run, right? Wrong. Mother Nature is not to be messed with. Dehydration, sunstroke, sunburn and poor performances are just some of the reasons you to take warm weather seriously.
Johns Hopkins Medicine suggests taking precautions when the temperature exceeds 80°F (roughly 26.6°C) and when humidity levels are high (70% onwards). But some sources go even further and suggest that temperatures of 60°F (roughly 15°C) can impact performance negatively.
But there are some serious physiological benefits of warm-weather training. As well as soaking up some mood-boosting vitamin D, your blood plasma levels increase in the heat so you’ll get a nice boost to your endurance levels when you return to colder climates.
Read on for some of our top tips on how to beat the heat.
Listen to your body
This is good advice in any conditions but even more important when it's hot. We'd suggest starting off quite a bit slower than you might usually and assessing the situation after around 15 minutes. If you're feeling good then you can pick up the pace. But make sure to check in with yourself regularly.
Wear light clothing
Gear that's light (in weight and color) and breathable is essential in the heat. Fabrics that wick moisture away from the body will really help keep you feeling cool and comfortable. Shirts that ventilate and dry fast are great at combatting increased sweat levels. Luckily, we have a pretty wide range of choices for you to browse…
A good running hat offers UV-blocking protection to deal with the sun. It can also help with vision so you feel safer on the run. We recommend going for something light with plenty of ventilation.
Drink lots of water
Obviously, drinking water is very important when trying to avoid dehydration and heatstroke – especially when doing sport. Generally, men are advised to drink around 3.7 liters of fluids a day and women should aim for 2.7 liters every day. In warm weather you might want to increase this slightly because, as mentioned, you will most likely be sweating more than usual. Take water with you if you exercise.
Pass the pee test
Not very glamorous, we know, but this is an important one too. If the color of your urine is darker than a pale yellow, you need to drink at least a pint of water. Right now. Especially if you plan on doing sport anytime soon.
Give yourself time to adjust
If you've just arrived somewhere hot and you plan on going for a run or working out, then you might want to take things slowly initially. It can take between seven and 14 days for you to adapt to the heat, during which time your body become better controlling your core body temperature, sweat rate and your heart rate. You will also become better at retaining electrolytes.
If you want to be ready for warmer weather ahead of arriving somewhere new, you can try to replicate the conditions by wearing extra layers when you train or even by going to the sauna to prep the body. There's no guarantee this will help, though.
Timing is important
Be selective about when you exercise. Lots of people think noon is the hottest part of the day but it's actually often somewhere around 3PM, as heat tends to build up over the course of the day. However, the sun is directly overhead at 12 noon, so there will be less shade then. This is particularly problematic as the sun's radiation will be at its strongest at this point. So you may want to go out in the morning or wait until the early evening.
End it with a dip
Our favorite way to end any hot and sweaty sport session at On HQ? Taking a quick swim in the Limmat, our local river. It’s super refreshing and it’ll stop you smelling if you go for lunch right after too. So why not end your run somewhere with some water you can jump into afterwards?