How to avoid heatstroke when running during the heatwave
If you love running, you won’t want anything to knock you off your stride.
But it can be hard to continue with your normal routine during a heatwave – and with good reason. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are real dangers, and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In any extreme conditions, it’s important to listen to your body. Pushing yourself in high temperatures can be really dangerous, and if you ever feel unwell, or like it is just too hard – make sure you take a break, drink some water and find some shade.
However, there are ways you can continue to run when the temperatures soar. You just have to be really careful, and adjust what you normally do to fit the new circumstances.
Before slipping on your running shoes, it’s important to know the warning signs, risks and safety measures to avoid heat exhaustion, heat cramps or the potentially life-threatening, heatstroke.
Personal training experts, Origym, have put together their top tips for keeping yourself safe without missing out on your regular runs:
Plan a well-shaded and flat route
One of the most important tips for running in hot weather is to stay in the shade as much as possible and save those hill climbs for cooler temperatures. With your body working harder than usual, it’s best to stick to flat routes with plenty of rest spots.
The more trees on your route to cool the air, the better. Their canopies intercept sunlight, block heat from reaching the surface and keep you sheltered. Roads and buildings absorb heat and raise the temperatures even higher.
Wear the right attire
We strongly advise opting for loose-fitting, lightweight clothing with light colours to reflect the sunlight, as well as staying away from 100% cotton. It absorbs sweat and won’t dry quickly so it will become uncomfortable and affect your performance.
A lightweight running hat or visor (which you can freeze the night before or dampen with cold water) will keep the sun from your eyes, protect your head and reduce the risk of encountering heat and sun stroke.
Protect your skin and eyes
Sunburn is another factor that plays a role in preventing the skin from cooling itself down when running in hot weather, as well as the whole host of other issues it promotes.
For this reason, we recommend covering all exposed skin in waterproof sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher 30 minutes before heading out on your run.
If you run for longer than an hour, be sure to take some with you to reapply – and don’t forget your sunglasses.
Keep yourself cool
While running, pause to splash water on your head, back of the neck, under arms and insides of your wrists. Be careful not to get your feet wet – blisters are the last thing you need.
Don’t overdo your warm-up. With the temperatures being higher, your muscles will warm up quicker. A 5-10 minute walk before you start running will help you adjust to the temperature without overheating.
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