How can we stay safe, on track, feel great and ultimately stay cool during the heatwave?
The British heatwave is here. As temperatures soar this summer Louisa suggests you train at the cooler times of the day, early morning and evening, stay hydrated and listen to your body.
In the hotter weather you need to replenish lost fluids to ensure your staying hydrated. Keep in mind that during an hours exercise you can lose around 1-2 litres of water. Thirst should not be the only indicator for hydration levels (thirst is a response to dehydration). The colour of your urine is an indicator. Clear or a pale yellow colour means your hydrated but the more yellow in colour the more dehydrated.
So if you feel your energy and focus flagging - drink up! Just 2 % loss will compromise your mental and physical performance. Check your fluid balance to avoid dehydration. Tailor your water intake based on weight, activity level, perspiration rate and environment.
Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to prevent heat-related illness. An average person needs to drink about 2-3 litres daily. Keep in mind that during an hours exercise you can loose around 1-2 litres of water.
In general, eating meals and snacks throughout the day with adequate water intake is enough to maintain electrolytes and replace salt lost when you sweat. However during a heatwave you might want to rethink how much sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks you consume.
Switch things up and opt for iced versions, from matcha lattes, iced teas, kombucha to water infused with cucumber, lemon, herbs and fruit.
The amount of sugar contained in fluids will also have an effect on its ability to hydrate you. The sugar content needs to be isotonic or less of blood to be an effective re-hydrator. Opt for plain or naturally flavoured water and drinks that contain 6g of sugar per 100g or less. Ideally post-workout replenish with an electrolyte boosting coconut water is a natural option.
Eat cooling foods, sounds simple enough but the temperature of your food and drink affects your body’s inner thermostat. Select fruit and vegetables that contain water with the right amount of minerals seems to be the answer. Spicy foods also help, so flavour with tasty herbs and spices to not only liven up your food. Most fruits and vegetables contain a high water and mineral content but hydrating hero's are celery, tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon and leafy greens.
Cool down your home by closing blinds and curtains. Our friends in hotter climates shit windows during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm and reopen at night.
If you don't have air-con, this is the best solution in a heatwave.
To stay safe outdoors its advisable to avoid the sun when it is strongest. The UKHSA recommends people to walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly, a cap, wide-brimmed hat and loose linen or cotton clothing.