How do you stay cool while walking in the heat?
Stay cool while walking in the heat by reducing the speed, distance and elevation of your walk. Choose a shady route, such as a woodland path, take regular breaks and drink lots of plain, still water. Other than this, wear a hat and light, quick-dry clothing and walk in the evening or early morning.
10 tips to keep your body cool while walking in warm weather
Taking some simple precautions before heading out for a walk in very warm weather can help to prevent issues like heatstroke, dehydration, heat cramps and heat exhaustion. So, let's take a look at some of the things you can do to keep your body cool while walking in the heat.
1. Walk in the shade where possible
When planning your walking route on a hot, sunny day, aim to explore an area where there are plenty of opportunities to shade your body from the sun. Woodland paths and country parks are ideal places to explore as you'll find lots of sought-after shade from the sun. If your route is out in the open, take refuge under shade whenever the opportunity arises.
2. Choose a flat route
It is important that we don't push the body too hard when the weather is very hot as this makes issues like exhaustion and dehydration much more likely to occur. So, take things a little easier at this time by choosing a flat walking route rather than any big hills or mountains. A beach walk is a particularly good idea as not only will the route be flat, but you can also cool off in the water when you feel like it!
3. Cut down your mileage
Again, don't aim for a walk that is too strenuous during warm weather. Stick to shorter routes and, if you do want to cover more mileage, do a couple of walks over the course of the day to prevent your body from getting too hot.
4. Drink a lot of water
When the weather is warm the body will be producing more sweat in an attempt to keep cool. On top of this, we lose sweat through physical exercise. This means it is absolutely essential to keep your body hydrated when walking in warm weather by drinking lots of plain, still water – energy drinks, fizzy drinks and coffee should not count towards your overall water intake.
Take a backpack when walking in the heat and fill it with at least two big water bottles. A water bladder is also really handy to have if your walk is going to be a little longer. For the serious walkers among us, you may want to think about taking some water purification tablets in case you find yourself without any water and need to top up from a stream. Most good outdoor shops will supply these.
As well as drinking plenty of water in hot weather you should replace lost salts, sugars and electrolytes. I recommend adding our Balance Mineral Drink to some water and drinking it following a long walk on a hot day. Balance Mineral Drink contains potassium, magnesium, vitamin D, calcium and zinc to keep vitamin and mineral levels up.
5. Wear loose, quick dry clothing
Stay cool while walking by wearing the right clothing. Materials like cotton are more likely to hold the heat and will not dry out quickly when wet due to sweat. Instead, choose a light, quick-dry material to wear when walking in the summer sun. Again, a good outdoor shop will have a range of items to choose from or take your pick of the options online.
6. Stop for regular rest breaks
Take more rest breaks than usual when walking in hot weather to re-fuel, rest and re-hydrate. If you can take these stops in a shady spot, this will help the body to cool down further.
7. Walk early in the morning or late at night
The overall temperature is cooler early in the morning and later in the evening. Therefore, you can make the most of this by taking a walk around this time.
8. Reduce the pace of your walk
Once again, a reminder not to work too hard in hot weather. Instead, keep the pace of your walk slow to avoid over-heating. If you want to work on cardio fitness by walking quickly, you could schedule the activity into cooler parts of the day.
9. Wear a sun hat
Pack a sun hat for a walk on a warm day to keep your head cool and to keep the sun off of your face.
10. Dip your hat in cold water
Last but not least, use water to keep your body cool. A little cold-water spray can be handy to have on a warm day. Another tip is to dip your sun hat into cold water (a stream, for example) and then place the wet hat on your head. It is so refreshing!
Other tips for walking in the heat:
- Apply factor 50 sun cream before leaving the house and re-apply throughout your walk – remember, you are likely to sweat off some of that sun cream during the course of a walk!
- Pack some sunglasses.
- Apply insect repellent before you leave the house. Neem Insect Repellent is a good natural option for keeping away the likes of midges and mosquitos.
- Keep your plans flexible. If the weather is extremely hot, it may be time to make alternative arrangements and schedule your planned walk on a slightly cooler day.