In summer we all tend to spend more time outdoors enjoying the sun and making use of the hot weather. Summer is also the best time of the year to exercise outdoors, from cycling to hiking and playing tennis, there are many outdoor activities we can do in summer to keep fit and stay active. But it’s worth keeping in mind that all the outdoor activities can be risky too and you should take certain steps to ensure your health is not compromised when exercising outdoors. Here is what you should consider:
Road pollution is especially relevant to cyclists and runners and while it’s good to be active, it’s really not healthy to breathe in polluted air full of toxic chemicals that come from vehicle traffic – if this happens on a regular basis, over time this could contribute towards health problems such as respiratory diseases and even heart disease.
So do try and stay away from the main roads when cycling and running although I know it can be hard. Plan your route well and make use of the side streets and quiet, less busy roads. Make use of green areas such as parks, forests, canals, anywhere where there is a minimal road traffic or no traffic at all.
When you spend long hours outdoors it’s really important you wear a sunscreen and many people know that of course, but still, they don’t use it or don’t think it’s worth applying for a few hours. But don’t be one of them! Skin cancer rates are on the rise and you should keep in mind that getting sunburned, just once every 2 years, can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer.
So do make an effort and put a sunscreen on you before going outdoors. Select a good natural sunscreen to avoid any potentially harmful ingredients.
Many people underestimate the importance of sunglasses but you shouldn’t. It’s crucial to wear them in summer to prevent eye sunburn and to keep your eyes healthy. Yes, there is such a thing as eye sunburn!
Also to note, if you fail to protect your eyes in the summer, you increase your risk for cataracts and macular degeneration so don’t forget to take your sports sunglasses with you before getting out of the doors.
Staying hydrated when you exercise is really important as it helps to prevent fatigue and any injuries.
Don’t forget your water bottle at home and take extra water with you when the weather is really hot and you know you will be active for a while. It’s better to take too much than not enough.
When exercising outdoors, you should try to avoid the worst heat of the day (between 11am and 3pm) although in the UK it only gets really hot when we have one of those heatwaves.
Keep in mind that spending long periods of time in a strong sun could result in a sunstroke and you should take preventative measure to avoid this.
To avoid sunstroke wear a cap or a hat and drink plenty of water. Don’t let your body get dehydrated! And try not to do do vigorous physical activities in the worst heat of the day.
When exercising outdoors you should always be prepared for the weather to change. It’s really not fun being caught up in the storm or a rain shower and getting all soaked. So do carry some extra clothing with you when you know you will be out and about for a while (this may not be needed for short runs).
Take a light waterproof jacket and maybe a pair of socks in case they get wet or anything else that you think could be helpful when the weather turns sour.
How do you look after your health when exercising outdoors? Do you have any additional tips that you could add?
Petra Kravos is a healthy lifestyle blogger who runs one of the top UK’s health blogs, Be Healthy Now. Petra is very passionate about health and loves helping people on their healthy living journey. On her health blog, you will find a variety of topics, from natural health and healthy eating to fitness and natural living. You can follow Petra on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.