Beat the heat. How to keep fit safely in summer.

20th January 2020

by Angelica Pasten-Anderson

Summer temperatures are soaring in Hobart, and once again, it’s that time of year when we all focus on our fitness and venture outdoors after our long winter hibernation. We often joke about the cold in Hobart, but the summers here are equally as extreme. While I consider myself to be an all-season runner, I find that summer is the most challenging season for running and keeping fit outdoors.

So, with that in mind, I’ve put together my top tips for exercising safely during the summer months to help you overcome the challenges of working out in the heat.

It’s all about the timing

The best way to beat the heat is to avoid it. This means you shouldn’t plan a run, bike ride or tennis match between 10 AM and 3 PM which is the hottest part of the day. Trust me, as tempting as it looks to catch those rays and enjoy the middle of the day you’re asking for trouble. I learned this the hard way a couple of years ago while training for a marathon in peak Hobart summer. I set out for a long run at 11:30 AM after having a few mimosas at brunch with a friend (as you do). My performance was subpar and it took me 3 days of complete rest to recover from the headache, body ache and touch of sunburn. If I had only planned my run for early morning or evening when the temperatures are cooler I would have been fine and possibly done better at that marathon.

Woman drinking water with the sun behind her
Hydration is important as the temperature soars, make sure you drink plenty of water.

Hydration

While it may seem like a no brainer, if you’re going to be working out in extreme weather, you’ll need to start and stay hydrated. According to Sports Dieticians Australia, you should begin your workout hydrated to minimise your risk of becoming dehydrated. Remember my mimosa? Well, it came back to haunt me because I had started that run dehydrated from alcohol; in a way, I was doomed from the start.

During your workout, you should have a hydration plan and be prepared either by bringing a water bottle with you or ensuring you have access to water. If you’re a runner, walker or cyclist, the Hobart City Council has produced a brilliant map of water fountains around Hobart. Drink well before you feel thirsty because if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. If you’re a heavy sweater, like me, then you might want to invest in electrolyte tablets or drinks which will help your body absorb water more effectively.

You will continue to lose fluid well after you stop moving, so make sure you keep drinking (water not mimosas) afterwards.

Dress for success

Don’t be a fashion victim. What you wear while keeping fit outdoors has a massive impact on your comfort and health. Your body comes with its own airconditioning system, also known as sweat, which evaporates and cools you down. If you’re wearing heavy, non-breathable clothes, the system won’t work, and you’ll be left hot, sticky, and weighed down. Always opt for light coloured clothing with sweat-wicking properties. Your mid-summer workout is not the time to wear that designer black cotton T-shirt no matter how great it looks!

The Shady Pipeline Track
The shade of the Pipeline track is a welcome relief from the summer heat.

Slip Slop Slap

We all know how important sunscreen is. Make sure you’re wearing your SPF 50+, and you reapply it regularly if you’re out for an extended period of time especially if you’re a heavy sweater. Don’t make the mistake I made on that long run and forget to reapply. Wear a hat and sunglasses for extra protection.

Get shady

Throw some shade… on yourself! In Hobart, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to a shady trail to run, walk or bike ride. My personal favourite is the Pipeline Track on the slopes of kunyani/Mt Wellington. Not only is it a few degrees cooler up there, but the views are also stunning.  You’re sure to run into other cardio lovers you might recognise from a group fitness class. Just beware of snakes!

Swimmers in the Ocean
Take a dip in the cool waters of Hobart’s beaches to beat the heat while burning extra calories.

Take a dip

Not keen on snakes? Then the icy waters of Hobart’s beaches could be your perfect workout partner on a scorching summer day. Swimming is a great full-body workout and leads to cold thermogenesis, the scientific name for exposing your body to cold, so it has to work hard to heat itself. This can help you burn fat quicker (and who doesn’t want that!) A cold swim will also help your muscles recover from a hard Pilates session or epic Barre class by boosting circulation. Same rules apply at the beach, don’t go in the middle of the day, stay hydrated and make sure you have your sunscreen on.

Work Out inside

The ideal way to beat the heat is to exercise indoors. When the mercury rises in Hobart, I find myself booking into a group fitness class. On sweltering days, I seem to lack motivation, feel lethargic and need that extra boost that I can only get from an instructor-led class. There’s nothing I love more than hitting the trails for a run, but on those really hot days, I just know I won’t get the most out of my workout which is why I book into a spin class instead. I can train hard knowing that the climate control at The Studio HQ will keep me comfortable and the filtered water is cold and always available. I don’t have to worry about the sun beating down on me or treading on snakes. I can wear black gear without worrying about being a magnet for the sun’s rays. While I am cardio-biased, sometimes I’ll mix it up and so some Pilates or stretch it out in Yoga. Whatever choice I make, I know that I’ll get a safe and effective workout.

So, this summer, why not beat the heat altogether and join us at The Studio HQ?! Choose from over 100 classes per week across Pilates, Yoga, Barre and Cycle to get your fitness fix. Avoid the dangers of exercising in extreme conditions and check out our timetable here to book your session today.