for those who love the outdoors

10 July, 2022

Exercising in the heat

In this article, we look at some top tips to help protect you from the sun and get the most from your exercise outside.

Exercise in the sun

Protect yourself in the sun

The sun is one of the most powerful forces in nature, and its rays can be both beneficial and harmful to our health. Too much sun exposure can lead to sunburn, skin damage, and even skin cancer. But the sun can also help our bodies produce vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system.

In this blog, we look at some top tips to help protect you from the sun and get the most from your time outside.

Slip! Slop! Slap!

First off, we revisit and old campaign, one of the most successful health campaigns in Australia's history, launched in 1981, Slip! Slop! Slap!. The sun-safety message is as relevant today as it was back then:

Slip on some sun-protective clothing

Wearing sun-protective clothing is an easy way to cover up and protect your skin from the sun. Look for loose-fitting clothes made from breathable fabrics like cotton, and always remember to wear a hat.

Slop on some sunscreen

It's important to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and to reapply it regularly, especially if you're swimming or sweating or use a waterproof / sweatproof brand.

Slap on a hat

Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is a great way to protect your face, head, neck and ears from the sun, especially when out excercising.

But what else can you do to continue to exercise when it's really heating up outside?

You may have a marathon training plan to commit to for the early autumn like London Marathon for example or one of the many walk, swim or run events happening this summer and you feel like missing a day or two. You can still train, but think a little bit more about the forecast for the week and plan your exercise accordingly.

Here are some sun-safety tips for exercising outdoors:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol as it can contribute to dehydration.
  • Carry a hydration pack and take as much fluids with you as you can
  • Plan your route so that if you do run out of water, you know where you can get a refill
  • Slow down or shorten your route. Run with your pals and run at chatty pace which will help keep you from running off too hard or fast in the heat.
  • Wear sun-protective lightweight clothing. A lot of modern exercise clothing will be lightweight and have moisture wicking technical fabrics which help to keep you cool. You can also buy sun-protective tops which have an inbuilt sunblock.
  • Wear sun-glasses to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays
  • Try to exercise in the cooler hours of the day, such as early morning or evening.
  • Take breaks often to cool down in the shade or indoors.

Change your training plan

We could all do with a little more stretching for whatever your preferred activity may be. So why not slow it down and try some sun salutations or sun flow sequences in the park instead of your usual run. Or try out Pilates or at an outdoor class or in the park.

If you are used to training hard, then heat acclimatisation is key. Try and gradually increase the time you spend exercising outdoors in the lead up to your event so that your body has time to get used to the heat.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to how your body is feeling and take breaks when you need to. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercising and seek medical attention if they persist. Have a look at our article about the dangers of heat exhaustion here.

Remember that sunburn not only looks bad but can also put you at risk for more serious skin problems later in life, so make sure you take care of your skin when exercising outdoors.

Ice lolly exercise

Ice Ice Baby

And if you're doing all that, take a note from Mike Bullock of Spider Runners book and plan an Ice Cream stop. They always plan routes with an ice lolly stop. It's also a great way to cool down and chat with your pals at the end of your exercise.

What's your sun safety tips?

With a little bit of sun-safety in mind, you can enjoy all the benefits of exercising outdoors and stay safe in the sun.

Do you have any sun-safety tips to share? Let us know in and tag us in your posts on Instagram @beoutsidebeactive

Outside & Active

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Outside & Active is the home for those who love the outdoors. Our mission is to inspire, inform and educate people about being active outdoors in a fun, safe and sustainable way. We provide inspiration, kit, tech and advice on adventure, camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, running water and winter.

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