With the threat of dehydration, heatstroke and sunburn looming in the back of your mind, it can be difficult to know how to protect yourself when exercising outside in hot weather. So how can you stay safe when running in the heat?
Here are our top 7 tips:
1. Hydrate Before, Hydrate During, And Hydrate After
We know you’re tired of being told to ‘drink more water’, but hydration is, quite honestly, the most important tip on this list (and very deserving of its #1 spot!).
In order to reduce the chances of heat stroke and dehydration when running in the heat, hydrating before, during and after your run is crucial. If your body doesn’t have the resources it needs to cool itself down, you’ll a.) potentially make yourself ill, and b.) wreck your chances of hitting your PB – two consequences no runner wants to face, right?
Be smart. Drink your water. Keep smashing those fitness goals.
2. Take a Cold Shower Or Bath Straight After
Taking a cold shower or bath after running in the heat can support your body’s natural cool-down process, reducing the chances of heatstroke. Cold soaks are also great at relieving sunburn, working to tame the inflammation it causes. Adding a generous sprinkling of Epsom Salts to the tub can also help soothe any aches and pains you may be feeling after your run.
3. Carefully Choose the Time You Run
No matter how tempted you are, running in the midday sun is probably not a good idea. This is when the sun’s rays can dish out the most damage, and it’s also when you’re most likely to feel the heat (both physically and figuratively!)
Try running in the early morning or just before dusk – these are not only the most beautiful times to run, but they’re also the safest!
4. Soothe Inflammation With a remedial balm
It’s no secret that running isn’t the kindest exercise for your joints. While it’s a great form of cardio, it can leave your muscles and joints feeling a little worse for wear in the subsequent days.
When you finish a run, your white blood cells rush all sorts of biochemicals to your leg muscles to speed up recovery. Cue the pain, fatigue and swelling!
Naturally, running in the heat will exacerbate this inflammation, so it’s extra important to show your muscles some TLC during the warmer months.
Using a topical balm infused with naturally active ingredients can soothe your tender muscles and joints, and aid relaxation. We recommend using a product that’s been specially formulated to soothe the aches and pains that tired muscles cause, such as the WholyMe Relief Balm.
Containing 12 evidence-backed ingredients, it can provide quick and long-lasting relief to your overworked muscles and joints. Its delicate balance of lavender, eucalyptus, hemp seed and other essential oils work to actively soothe not just the body, but also the mind, making it the ultimate recovery tool.
Simply massage a small amount onto any inflamed area of the body, and enjoy the physical and mental relief it can provide.
5. Wear Breathable, Or Sun-Blocking Materials
It can be easy to get confused between the sensation of exercise-induced heat, and that of genuinely overheating. Your choice of clothing can have a major impact on your ability to stay cool and safe.
Always choose materials which are sweat-wicking and breathable, and equip yourself with a cap, sunglasses, suncream, and that all-important water bottle.
Bonus tip: look for clothes which are UV-reflective – yes, they exist!
6. Reduce the Intensity
If your body isn’t used to running in the heat, pushing it too hard will only end in regret.
Toning things down a notch for your first few runs in the warmer months can help your body build up the crucial heat-resistance you need to stay safe.
At the end of the day, your body’s natural instincts are a survival mechanism. If they’re telling you something is really wrong when you’re running in the heat, you should take note.
Your body has so much extra work to do when exercising in hot weather. There’s no shame in taking a shorter route if you feel it’s safer, or going a little slower if you’re running out of breath too quickly.
7. Use Downtime to Your Advantage
Recovery periods after exercise are so important for your safety and physical wellbeing, especially after running in the heat. Taking the time to properly recover will do wonders for your strength and fitness.
Integrating various self-care rituals into your daily routine can immensely improve the resistance of your muscles, joints and mind to the hot weather.
Simple activities such as stretching, massaging your muscles with a relief balm, or engaging in gentle yoga can provide relief for pains while preparing your body for future movement.
For more tips on running and maintaining a general feeling of wellness, visit our blog!