Living Well – How to stay active and keep fit in the heat

Wayne Little's bi-monthly column of staying motivated and keeping fit.

With our busy lifestyles and so much going on in the summer, it’s nice to do a workout before the heat of the sun kicks in. Sometimes it’s not possible though, and it’s either skip the workout or head out into the heat of the day.

When I go for runs or bike rides in the heat, there are some extra precautions I usually take to stay keep the workout safe. I put on sunscreen, I bring lots of fluids, and I have a drop off point, or a place to stop to get more fluids if I need some. I generally count on drinking one bottle (750ml) per hour of exercise.

Obviously your biggest threat of working out in the heat is exhaustion or heat stroke. If your heart rate doesn’t come down after your harder efforts, chances are you are experiencing heat exhaustion. Other signs of heat exhaustion are nausea, dizziness, and you stop sweating.

What other steps can you take to enjoy your summer sun workouts? You can acclimate yourself – by simply working out in the heat, your body will get used to it. I was out for a trail run the other day with the dogs, and I thought, “It’s funny how 30C feels like a nice cool day now.” Another way is to simply slow down, or don’t workout as hard as you would when its cooler. Wearing light breathable clothing will help keep you cool while it wicks perspiration away. There are some awesome new fabrics that have completely changed the world of fitness since the day we all worked out in cotton t-shirts and shorts.

Remember, if you take your pooch with you during the heat of the day, if he’s anything like my dog, the heat will affect him differently than it will affect you. Dogs don’t sweat, they pant to release heat.  Your dog loves you and could kill itself trying to keep up with you. So keep in mind that if he looks like he’s in trouble, you’ll have to stop and find someplace cool for him to rest, and definitely get some water. Also, if you plan to bring your dog, try to avoid the hottest part of the day, as the pavement gets very hot on their paws.

By using some common sense and following some of the guidelines I set above, you can work out safely in the heat. Besides, soon there will be snow on the ground, it will be below zero, and you’ll be wishing for 35C again!!

Wayne Little

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