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The Ultimate Guide To Exercising in the Heat

Embrace the heat without overheating with these top tips from our world-class trainers...

Group of people exercising at a fitness retreat

Picture this: the sun is shining, the sky is nothing but blue, the speakers are full of your favourite summer throwbacks, and your skin is glistening with sweat as you glug down a bottle of ice cold water. Yeah, there’s something epic about working out beneath the rays. But exercising in the heat is only epic if you’re taking the right precaution. Yepp. When summer hits, those scorching temperatures tend to be right there along with it, and that means braving the heat in the safest way when you’re breaking sweat outdoors. After all, there can be some pretty nasty side effects if you don’t. From staying hydrated wearing the right coloured clothing, we asked our team of world-class trainers for their top tips when exercising in the heat (so that you can revel in the benefits and boost your performance in the safest way possible). Let’s do it:

Embrace an Early Start

Rising with the sun may not be everyone's idea of fun, but when it comes to working out in the summer heat, getting started sooner is a serious game-changer. That’s part of the reason we schedule so many of our workouts on camp for the early morning or late evening, when the temperatures are cooler, your body is more ready and it’s a lot easier to avoid heat-related issues. Plus, you'll get the added bonus of enjoying the peaceful surroundings at our coastal retreats, not to mention the soul-stirring sunrises or sunsets.

Get Your Kit Right

Choosing the right workout gear is absolutely essential when it's a scorcher outside. Ideally, you want to opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate, which will help to keep you cool and comfortable all workout long. You also want to avoid any dark colours that absorb heat and rock more light-coloured clothing to reflect the sun's rays. And, in case you need reminding, don't forget to slap on that five-star sunscreen and protect your skin from the harmful UV rays while you’re working up a sweat.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

When it's hot, hydration becomes your best friend. Whether it’s ice cold water or an electrolyte hydration drink, the hotter it is, the more you’ll sweat, and the more you sweat the more your body is losing fluids and salts, so it's essential to drink plenty before, during, and after your workout. To do this effectively, aim to consume at least eight ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during intense exercise. The colder the better too as this will help keep your core body temperature down. Oh and, if you're engaging in any prolonged activities, try swapping out the water for a sports drink to replenish any electrolytes lost through that glimmer on your skin.

Ease Up A Little

When you workout in hot weather, you’re putting extra strain on your body, so it's super-important to ease up a little, forget about your PBs, know your limits, and play close attention to your body. And if at any time you feel lightheaded, be kind to yourself straight away. No ego, no more reps, just stop exercising or significantly reduce the intensity until you're feeling better. It's also really important to remember that the heat will affect your workout, so don't push yourself too hard, and take regular breaks so that your body can cool down.

Listen to Your Body

Listen, we want people to try their hardest, give 110% and work with our trainers to unlock their full potential. But not in the heat. Sure, pushing your limits can be admirable, but it's even more admirable to listen to your body's cues when exercising in the summer sun. Pay attention to any signs of heat exhaustion, such as dizziness, nausea, headache or rapid heartbeat – and if at any time you experience any of these symptoms, take a break, find some shade and rehydrate that body with icy water. Trust us: it's better to be safe than sorry, something our team will always champion.

Switch Up Your Workout

Not all exercises are created equal when it comes to exercising in the heat. That’s why it’s about adapting to the mercury in the thermometer, changing up the activities you had planned and finding ways to put less excessive strain on your body. Think swimming, water aerobics, or indoor workouts where there’s a breeze, a fan or, better yet, air conditioning. That said, if you have a thing for getting outside to exercise, try and find ways to stick to the shade whatever you’re doing: jogging, yoga, strength training sessions – make sure you stick to the shade areas, something our Norfolk Retreats offers by the bucket load.

Acclimate Gradually

Your body needs time to adjust to the excessive heat when exercising. To do this, try starting with shorter workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time. This will allow your body to adapt to the conditions and build up its heat tolerance in a safe and effective way. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is your resistance to a sweat-session in a summer scorcher.

Stick To The Shade

We love the warm tingle of the sun on our skin as much as the next person, but when it’s hot, hot, hot outside, exercising in the shade not only shields us from those searing rays but it also helps regulate our body temperature, reducing the risk of heat-related issues. That’s why we have added purpose-built, outdoor workout areas at our UK Fitness Retreat. It allows you to engage in our high energy circuits and sessions, while still being surrounded by woodlands, exposed to that fresh ocean air and able to reduce the potential dangers associated with overheating. So, whether it's a canopy-covered trail or our outdoor gym, embracing the sanctuary of shade during a heatwave will allow you to workout hard while staying safe.

Keep Your Cool

After a challenging workout in the heat, make sure you prioritise your cool down properly. Slowly reduce your intensity, take a few minutes to gently stretch your muscles, perform some yoga poses to help your body relax and create a safe space for yourself. Then hop into a cool shower or take a dip in the sea to really escape the heat. And don't forget to rehydrate with some ice-cold water and refuel with a nutritious post-workout snack.

Keep It Really Cool

There’s only one way to really cool your body down, and that’s to slide yourself into one of our state-of-the-art Chill Tubs. Not only will they bring your core body temperature down, but you’ll also get to reap the unreal benefits of ice baths. From soothing your aching muscles to reducing any inflammation, looking after your mental health to improving your sleep, there are so many reasons to make ice baths part of your fitness journey.

If you’re sitting there thinking, “Whoa, exercising in the heat comes with a serious amount of extra precautions,” you’re right. It does. But that doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the fitness fun during the summer months. By following our trainers’ top tips, you can stay sweaty, keep your cool, and reap the rewards of working out in the warm weather. So, embrace the heat, reduce the risks, conquer your workouts, and make this summer your fittest one yet.

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