Beating the Heat: 8 Expert Tips to Make Your Summer Walks a Breeze
As the summer sun blazes down, many of us find it challenging to stay active, especially when it comes to outdoor activities like walking or running. However, walking is the BEST low-impact exercise that offers numerous health benefits. To help you enjoy your walks even on the hottest days, I have gathered eight strategies that have personally made walking in the heat more bearable for me while staying safe and maintaining my fitness goals!
1. Time Your Walks Wisely!
The timing of your walk can significantly impact your experience in the heat. Plan your walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings, when the sun's intensity is lower. I know it can be tough to wake up early in the Summer, but this helps avoid the terrible heat and helps set a routine for yourself to stay balanced on break. Avoid walking during peak midday heat, as it can be not only uncomfortable but also dangerous to your health (heat stroke)!
2. Dress Appropriately
Wearing the right clothing is essential when walking in the heat. Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics that allow air circulation and wick away sweat. Opt for light-colored clothing to reflect the sun's rays and help keep your body temperature down. I also recommend wearing a hat or sunglasses if you feel comfortable to avoid directly staring in sunlight.
3. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is crucial when walking in the heat. Drink water before, during, and after your walk to replenish fluids lost through sweating. Carry a water bottle with you and take small sips at regular intervals. If you're going on a longer walk, consider bringing a sports drink like gatorade to replenish electrolytes.
4. Use Sun Protection
Protect your skin and eyes from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before heading out. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and sunglasses to shield your eyes. Sun protection not only keeps you comfortable but also reduces the risk of sunburn and other skin-related issues. Girl, I think you should just wear your sunscreen everyday even if it is thunderstorming, but ESPECIALLY in this heat!
5. Find Shady Routes
Look for shaded paths or trails for your walks, such as tree-lined streets, parks with ample tree cover, or urban routes with tall buildings. Walking in the shade can significantly reduce your exposure to direct sunlight and help keep your body cooler.
6. Slow Your Pace
Walking in the heat puts additional strain on your body, so it's essential to listen to your body's cues. Slow down your walking pace to prevent overheating and avoid overexertion. If you feel any sign of dizziness or nausea I recommend sitting down or heading back home. Pay attention to how you feel and take breaks if needed.
7. Bring a Cooling Towel
Carry a cooling towel with you on your walks. These specialized towels can be pre-soaked in cold water and provide instant relief when draped around your neck or over your head. The cooling effect lasts for a while, making it a useful accessory for staying comfortable in the heat. I don't do this all the time, but I feel immensely grateful when I do remember to bring one and it's like a little treat after my walk.
8. Acclimate Gradually
If you're not accustomed to walking in the heat, start with shorter walks and gradually increase the duration as you acclimate to the conditions. Your body will adapt over time, allowing you to enjoy longer walks without feeling overwhelmed by the heat.
Walking in the heat doesn't have to be an uncomfortable experience. These eight tips have made my outdoor workouts more bearable and even enjoyable during hot summer days. Remember to time your walks wisely, dress appropriately, and stay hydrated to stay safe and maintain your fitness routine. With a bit of planning and mindfulness, you can continue to reap the benefits of walking while embracing the warmth of the summer season!