It’s summer in Perth, and you know what that means: beach season, long sunny days, warm evenings and plenty of public holidays. With the warm weather comes motivation to get outside for some physical activity. Be it bushwalks, beach jogs, bike rides, outdoor workouts or park runs there are loads of ways working out in summer can be social and rewarding – as long as you take the right precautions.
Outdoor exercise in summer is very different to during the cooler months. If you follow our tips below you can make the most of Perth’s sunny summer days while mixing up your fitness routine. We’ll be here in the air-conditioned gym getting a great workout when you’re ready to beat the heat.
Carrying water during a summer workout is non-negotiable, even if there are water spots along your route. Taking your own supply means water breaks don’t slow down your workout and you can stay properly hydrated instead of waiting until you are thirsty (which is too late).
Invest in a good sports bottle you are comfortable running or walking with and fill it up when you stop for a rest. You should also drink a glass or two of water before lacing up your shoes to start off hydrated.
Quick tip: It can be tempting to freeze some water in your bottle, but the best idea is to drink room temperature water during a workout. Chilled water shocks your organs and does not actually cool you down.
Slip, slop, slap!
If you grew up in Perth you might remember this SunSmart ad that played every summer on TV. Slip on a t-shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat. They were on to something – those are three things you certainly need to do while working out in summer.
The right clothing for exercising in summer
Tight fitting gym clothes might not be the best choice for exercising outdoors. Polyester blends don’t breathe as well as cotton nor absorb moisture as evenly. You run the risk of overheating, or at least finishing your summer workout drenched in sweat.
Go for light coloured loose-fitting cotton clothing instead to maximise ventilation and absorb moisture.
Perth’s sun is notoriously harsh, so you will want to lather up on sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
Quick tip: don’t apply sunscreen directly above your eyes as sweat can cause it to run. Instead opt for a hat to stay shady.
How about a hat?
For men and women alike there are several hat options to keep your scalp, forehead and nose protected while working out in summer. Try a visor if you have good coverage up top, or a lightweight cap with ventilation.
Quick tip: Seek and slide were recently added to the list – seek shade and slide on sunglasses, two more great summer safety messages.
Don’t Overdo It
Summer heat can quickly sap your energy leaving you tired and depleted – or worse. Overdoing a workout in summer has dangerous consequences, among them heatstroke, fainting, dizziness and nausea. When the heat hits, start with slower paced or shorter workouts to get your body used to exercising in summer and slowly increase the intensity.
Quick tip: Don’t hold yourself to the same PBs and split times in summer. Instead acknowledge the heat changes your workout and set different targets.
Find a Shady Spot
Plan your run or walk route to include a few shady places to rest. Regular shade breaks are essential when you’re working out in summer, because they save you from overheating and help you reach the finish line. Most outdoor gyms are in full sun, so pick one with some trees nearby and make the most of your breaks.
Quick tip: Shady spots are a great place to add in some bodyweight exercises to your summer workout. Try burpees, push-ups, squats and lunges in the shade for a full-body burn.
Plan Your Timing
One of the best things about working out in a 24-hour Perth gym, is you never have to worry that you’ve missed your window. If you’re planning on exercising outside this summer, be conscious of the time and stick to your schedule.
The sun is less fierce first thing in the morning before 9am, and in the evening after 5pm or 6pm. Between those times the combination of heat, direct sun and barely any breeze can be a recipe for heatstroke.
Workout Fuel: Electrolytes and Sodium
Working out in summer depletes your body’s electrolyte stores much quicker than exercising in a gym. Your body is working faster to try and keep cool, and much of the essential salts and electrolytes are lost through sweat. Load up on electrolytes after a workout, but think twice before reaching for a sugary sports drink. Instead try coconut water, bananas, avocado, or chia seeds to replenish your body without the added sugar.
Quick tip: Electrolytes include sodium (found in cheese and table salt), chloride (also table salt), potassium (from fruits and veggies like sweet potato, avocado and banana), magnesium (from seeds and nuts), and calcium (from leafy greens and dairy).
More Quick Tips For Working Out In Summer
Know the signs of heatstroke
- Absence of sweating, plus flushed skin
- Rapid pulse
- Confusion or disorientation
- Difficulty breathing
- Strange behaviour including agitation
If you or anyone else exercising outside is experiencing heatstroke, call 000 immediately.
Check the forecast
Humidity can drastically increase the intensity of heat, making working out in summer unsafe. Check the forecast and current conditions, including UV index and wind, to plan your workout.
Set up temperature alerts
Most smart home assistants can alert you when the mercury climbs above a safe temperature. Use the heat index to work out a safe combination of heat and humidity, and get alerts when this is exceeded.
Join a gym
Working out in summer is no problem when you’re in a climate-controlled environment, out of the sun, with all the equipment you need and cool water on tap. You can still mix things up with the occasional outdoor exercise session, but joining a gym is the best way to stick to a fitness routine all year round.
Whether you’re walking the dog on the beach, trail running through the Perth hills, practising pull-ups in an outdoor gym on Cottesloe beach, or working up to a 5k park run with a friend, working out in summer means taking a few extra steps to avoid heatstroke or muscle injury.
Stay safe and enjoy your workout! – The Surge Fitness team.