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Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit during a Heatwave

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


A man Dealing with a UK heatwave

It is difficult to predict the exact weather conditions for any given summer, but it is possible that the UK will experience potentially record high temperatures again this summer. Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and severity of heat waves, so it is important to stay healthy and fit during a heatwave and to take steps to stay cool and hydrated when considering our routines for staying fit and healthy.


Hydration

Liquid for hydration in bottles

First and foremost, it's important to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to help your body regulate its temperature and prevent dehydration. You can also consider drinking a sports drink with electrolytes to help replenish any that you lose through sweating.


Next, try to exercise during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. This will help you avoid the peak heat of the day, which can make it harder for your body to cool down.


It's also important to listen to your body and take breaks as needed. If you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or have a headache, it's a sign that your body is not handling the heat well. Take a break, find some shade, and rehydrate before continuing your workout.


Choose the right clothing.

A man dressed for exercise in hot weather

Additionally, choose clothes made of breathable, lightweight fabrics to help keep you cool and comfortable. Avoid wearing dark colours, as they absorb heat, and opt for loose-fitting clothes that allow air to circulate around your body.


It's also important to adjust your workout routine accordingly. High-intensity workouts may not be appropriate in extreme heat, as they can put extra strain on your body. Instead, consider lower-impact activities such as swimming, cycling or yoga.


Always remember to protect your skin from the sun, so apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30, and make sure to reapply it every 2 hours.


If you have any underlying health conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine in the heat. They may have specific recommendations for you to follow to stay safe and healthy.


Older people working out during hot weather.

A man practicing tai chi

During hot weather, it's important for older adults to stay hydrated and to engage in low-impact activities that won't cause excessive sweating. Some gentle workout options for older adults during hot weather include:

  • Walking: This is a great way to get some exercise while staying cool. Try to walk in a shaded area or early in the morning or late in the evening when it's cooler.

  • Yoga: Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors. It can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength.

  • Swimming: Swimming is a great way to stay cool while getting a full-body workout. It's also easy on the joints.

  • Tai Chi: This is a form of martial arts that combines movement and relaxation. It's a low-impact form of exercise that can help improve balance and flexibility.

  • Gardening: Gardening is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air while staying cool.

It's important to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any health conditions.


Working out indoors.

A woman working out indoors to avoid the hot weather

If you can't stand the baking heat but you still want to maintain your fitness, there are so many things that you can do without stepping out of your door.

  • Bodyweight exercises: Push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks are all great exercises that can be done in the comfort of your own home and don't require any equipment.

  • Yoga: Yoga is a great way to stay flexible and increase strength, and there are many free classes available online.

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT): Short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest can be a great way to get a full-body workout in a short amount of time.

  • Resistance bands: These inexpensive bands can be used to add resistance to bodyweight exercises and can be a great way to build muscle.

  • Cardio: Running on the spot, Jumping jacks or skipping rope are all great ways to get your heart rate up and burn calories.

  • Stair stepping: I found that walking up and down the stairs up to 30 times got my heart rate up much faster than 30 minutes on an Elliptical trainer at the gym.

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the workout and throughout the day.

  • Rest and recovery: Make sure to get enough rest and recovery time between workouts to allow your body to repair and build muscle.

  • Cooling down: Take a cool shower or bath after each workout or simply splash water on your face and neck to cool down the body.

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.

A woman feeling dizzy and lightheaded

If you feel dizzy after any exercise, it could be due to a few different factors.

One possibility is that you are not properly hydrating before and during your workout. Dehydration can cause dizziness, so make sure you are drinking enough water before and during your workout.


Another possibility is that you are pushing yourself too hard. If you are not used to this type of exercise, it can be easy to overdo it and push your body past its limits. This can cause dizziness or other symptoms. Try to start with shorter workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity over time.


Also, if you have any underlying medical condition such as low blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, stroke, or any other medical condition which might affect your ability to work out, please consult with your doctor before starting any physical activity.


If you continue to feel dizzy after your workout, you should stop and consult with a doctor.


I have arthritis but I want to exercise.


A runner soothing his painful knees

If you have arthritis in your back, hips or knees, it's important to choose exercises that are low-impact and easy on your joints. Here are a few options for cardio workouts that may be suitable:

  • Stationary cycling: A stationary bike is a great option for those with arthritis in their hips or knees as it is easy on the joints and provides a good cardio workout.

  • Pool exercises: Swimming or water aerobics can be a great way to get a cardio workout without putting stress on your joints. The buoyancy of the water helps to support your body and reduce the impact on your joints.

  • Elliptical trainer: Elliptical machines provide a good cardio workout without the impact on your joints that running would have.

  • Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a form of martial arts that is also a form of low-impact exercise that can help to improve balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.

  • Yoga: Yoga can also be a great form of low-impact exercise that can help to improve flexibility and balance, which can be beneficial for those with arthritis in their hips or knees.

  • Walking: Walking is a very gentle form of exercise that can be done almost anywhere, and it can be a great way to get your heart rate up and improve cardiovascular fitness.

It's always important to speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have an underlying medical condition like arthritis. They can help you to understand which exercises may be best for you, and what modifications you may need to make to protect your joints.


Finally.. Online workouts.

A woman doing an online workout

During hot weather, we are lucky to have so many options for home workouts.


Online workouts at home have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially after Covid as more and more people turn to the internet for fitness guidance. With the rise of streaming platforms and social media, it's now easier than ever to access high-quality workout videos and tutorials from the comfort of your own home.


Whether you're a beginner looking to get in shape or a seasoned athlete looking to stay active, there are countless options available to suit your needs. From yoga and Pilates to strength training and cardio, there's a wide variety of workouts available online that can be tailored to your fitness level and goals. Additionally, many online workout programs offer personalized nutrition plans and progress tracking, making it easy to stay on track and achieve your fitness objectives.


In conclusion, exercising during hot weather requires some extra precautions, but with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can stay safe, healthy and fit even in the heat of the summer and remember to STAY HYDRATED.

Sharon Shinwell clinical hypnotherapist

While you are here, please feel free to take a look at our website. We have several downloadable Self-Hypnosis sessions tailored to Health and Well-Being.

"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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