With the climate hotting up, Sarah Maxwell get to grips with exercising safely in the heat

Today I’m enjoying basking in glorious sunshine, contemplating doing a lunchtime workout. The usual excuses come to the surface, ‘it’s too hot to exercise’, ‘I can’t face having to do an hour in this’, etc. If it’s hot outdoors or indoors and you’re finding it difficult to motivate yourself, read on…

If possible exercise either early morning or evening – shade is your friend if it doesn’t fit in with your day.

Hydrate: Hydrate before, during and after your workout. If you notice your urine is dark, up your water intake. 

Protect your skin: Our skin and subcutaneous tissue are our body’s cooling system, designed to move blood away from vital organs and keep them at the correct temperature. If our skin and below the skin tissue becomes damaged it can cause our natural air conditioning to fail.

What to wear: Opt for breathable, lightweight clothing that allows your skin to perspire and enable cooling. Avoid cotton because it holds the heat and sweat close to your body, making it wet, heavy and uncomfortable.

A damp towel around your neck really helps keep your body temperature down. If it’s exceptionally hot, I wear a damp towel on my head instead of a hat. It’s not remotely stylish, but it works for me.

Less is more: Swap your long duration run, cycle etc. for short HIIT workouts. HIIT workouts are great in the heat, allowing you short rest breaks and enabling you to take in more water. It’s also a great opportunity to shake up your regular workout routine.

This summer my favourite HOT HIIT Workout involves:
• 2-3 minute warm up
• Star jumps
• Plank
• Squats
• Burpees
6 rounds of 45 seconds with a 1 minute rest between each exercise. I usually add in pelvic floor exercises in the rest period (I like multi-tasking)

You can also take your HIIT training into the water. No swimming involved AND you don’t have to get your hair wet! Stand in waist height water, gentle jogging on the spot and loosening your shoulders for 2-3 minutes, gradually increasing the intensity. 

Star jumps: Jumping legs and arms apart and back together (be careful with your arms if you’re in water up to your chest, it’s much more difficult to move your arms).

Side steps/ side gallops: Keep your hips facing forward (or facing the pool wall) and take a big step to the side, then bring the other leg to join. Step 5 times in one direction then the other until 45 seconds is up.

• Split jumps: Begin standing with your legs together. Jump up and split the legs, right leg forward and left leg back. Land with legs together. Repeat the jump and split the legs, left leg forward and right leg back. To increase the intensity, focus on vertical height along with quickly snapping the legs back together for the landing.

Remember!Even though you will be cooler in the water, you still need to keep hydrated because you won’t notice it but you will be sweating. Above all, listen to your body, stop if you feel faint, unwell or just can’t carry on. Do what you can, when you can and give yourself a big clap for whatever you manage to achieve!

Sarah Maxwell is a multi award-winning weight loss, lifestyle and fitness coach. Find out more about her work:

Facebook & Instagram: @sarahmaxlife Twitter: @sarahmax100 sarahmaxwell.com

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