When it comes to running in the heat there is one thing you can’t avoid:
Don’t forget the ever present fear of potential sunburn or chafing. Seriously, why do we do it?!
Well, research has shown the more aerobically fit you are, the better your body is at handling hot temperatures, plus, your wardrobe can play a big role in your overall comfort and in how efficiently you’ll be able to exercise.
So here are our best tips for making it work:
Not all heat is created equal: high humidity can make the heat feel significantly worse by slowing the rate at which sweat can evaporate off your body. After all, sweat isn’t just an annoyance that happens when you’re getting hot, it’s the body’s way of cooling itself, and the cooling effect only happens when the sweat can evaporate. In high humidity, sweat sticks around.
So it’s safe to say that in the UAE it will always feel a few degrees warmer than the actual temperature, so make sure you dress accordingly.
Know What you can Handle
Every person has a different tolerance for heat, so it’s important to dress for your own needs rather than copying exactly what your exercise partners are wearing. Some heavy sweaters find wearing long sleeves impossible since they soak through quickly. Everyone will have a different reaction to different heats and the more time you spend exercising in heat, the more your body will adapt.
To get you started, here’s what to think about as you prep to walk or run in a range of warm temperatures:
1. Shade is Your Friend
Invest in a breathable, sweatproof cap that provides UV protection, keeps the sun off your face and scalp, and helps to keep sweat out of your eyes.
You may prefer wearing a headband or buff to keep hair off your face, or no cap at all if you have short hair, but if you do that your scalp is getting a lot of sun exposure and no one wants a sunburnt head.
2. Sunglasses are a Must
Sunglasses are important if you’re rarely in the shade, as they’ll protect your eyes from the sun’s rays as well. Look for lenses that offer UV protection.
3. Sunscreen Up
In all warm weather make sure any exposed skin has sunscreen covering it. An easier way to avoid sunburn is by simply covering up what you can, while still allowing your skin to breathe and cool itself.
Try some of the ultra-lightweight clothing options that provide UV protection while wicking moisture and keeping you as cool in long sleeves as you’d be in a tank top.
After all, clothing is the best way to protect your skin from the sun, but make sure the clothing you’re wearing actually has UV protection: a plain white cotton T-shirt is only rated at around SPF 7, which is minimal protection. On the other hand, some athletic clothing offers built-in SPF 50. If you’re out for a long run or walk, but won’t be going too hard, consider wearing a long-sleeve running shirt that offers UV protection. This saves you from the need to reapply sunscreen halfway through.
4. Think About Fabric
Choose light and minimal fabrics, slather on plenty of sunscreen, and then let air hit your skin as much as possible to speed the cooling process. A loose fit might feel great to start, if you’re a heavy sweater, the fabric will start to soak and weigh you down, flap around and even chafe if it’s too loose, so opt for more fitted cuts for hot weather.
5. Be Wary of Seams
On a shorter or cooler walk or run, the seams on your shorts, sports bra or shirt may not be as noticeable or irritating. But add heat, sweat and time, and you may start to feel chafing. There are a few ways to ease the irritation. First, check where the seams are bothering you. Is it just one pair of shorts that’s leaving an angry welt on your inner thigh? Relegate those to ‘cooler weather only.’ If it’s most shorts, consider trying a different length of shorts, or use a chafe-proof stick.
We cannot stress the importance of water enough. A handheld water bottle is a good idea to bring along, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. The ability to take a few sips to cool down, or splash your face and wrists with cold water if you’re getting overheated, can be the difference between heat exhaustion and being able to get home without any problems.
So, while hot weather isn’t the most pleasant to exercise in, it’s totally possible to stay active during the sweaty months. Just prepare appropriately and stay vigilant of your body’s feedback during exercise, and you should be just fine.