Running your wrists under a cold tap when it’s hot feels lovely. Did you know this is part of your body’s natural cooling system?
The blood vessels in your wrists are close to the surface of the skin. The theory is, by making this bit of you cold, you reduce the temperature of the blood passing through. This cooled blood then circulates around the rest of your body, giving you some relief from the heat.
All of your pulse points (places where you can feel your pulse) seem to work like this. The neck, inner elbows & backs of the knees are some of the easiest areas to chill. Throw cold water on or wrap a wet cloth around them during your workout & you’ll get some relief. You've also got pulse points in the tops of your feet & ankles, so after a hot workout plunge your throbbing tootsies into a bowl of icy water. Bliss!
Cooling your whole head feels great too. I love going out for a run with wet hair (quick cold shower before I go, looks a bit strange but it works!).
When we’re hot, more blood is directed towards the skin’s surface (that's why you go red). The body then produces sweat on the skin to cool the blood down.
It’s a great cooling system, but it does use up a lot of water. So when it’s hot outside, stay hydrated. Plan ahead, keep sipping water throughout the day & increase your consumption both during & after your workout.
There’s a quick scientific test you can do to see how hydrated you are. Go to the loo & check the colour of your urine. The lighter the colour the better. Think the colour of lemonade rather than Pimms!
To allow this sweating process to work efficiently, avoid wearing clothes that trap sweat & heat against your body. Opt for lightweight, loose fitting clothes.
If you train a lot in the heat, invest in some technical kit that pulls the wetness away from the skin. It’s the evaporation process that keeps you cool. Look for words like Climacool (Adidas), Dri-Fit (Nike) or just a generic "moisture-wicking" fabric.
When it gets hot, slow down and listen to your body.
Be aware of your current fitness levels. Generally, the fitter you are, the better your body can tolerate exercise in the heat. If you're unfit or new to exercise, don’t push it too hard & take lots of breaks.
Whatever your fitness ability, on hotter days, don’t aim to beat previous scores, or get a PB. You have my permission to ease back!
Summer outdoor workouts are definitely worth sweating over. Just make sure you train sensibly, stick to the shade & avoid the middle of the day.
So don’t hide indoors. Make the most of the lovely weather, it won’t be around for long!