Brutal heat is one of the things Australia is most known for. Some areas are lucky to have seasons that bring a break from the oppressive heat, but even then, summers are long and hot. This can bring many problems, such as brownouts, fires, and heat-related illnesses. Getting active and doing something you enjoy outside might not be possible on hot days because it simply isn’t safe. Dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn are major concerns when the weather gets warm. The human body simply cannot cope with extreme heat, no matter how much water you drink or sunblock you lather on.
Having an active lifestyle is a great way to stay healthy. But, when the temperature starts to creep into the high 30’s, going outside becomes less appealing. Runs get shorter, sports are uncomfortable and the heat can be unbearable for some. Being cautious is better than getting heatstroke. There are still ways to exercise during the hot seasons, though. And not all of them are indoor activities. They might just take a little extra planning.
Get out of the city
Cities are almost always a few degrees warmer than rural areas, even if they are only a 20-minute drive away. This is because the steel and concrete of skyscrapers have a higher thermal mass than the organic matter outside of the city. This means they hold on to heat longer and are less reflective, creating what scientists call an “urban heat island.”
What this does is create an excellent excuse to cut out of work early on Friday and head out to a nearby wildlife area to get some exercise during the summer. Going for hikes and trail runs away from the city will save you from suffering in the heat of the city. There are bonus points if there are leafy trees and cool valleys to explore, as these are often cooler. Another thing to bear in mind is elevation can drop the temperature. Those in Melbourne and Sydney are relatively close to some beautiful scenery in the Snowies and the Blue Mountains with hiking trails of all ability levels.
Get on the water
Australians are attracted to water like bugs to a light. Hanging out at one of the thousands of beautiful beaches or heading down to the local creek or river is a social activity that can keep us cool. Why not try swimming in the water, too? Swimming is a fantastic way to exercise and should be something every athlete has in their training program. It is a full-body aerobic workout that puts next to no stress on joints and is easy on the muscles. Open water swimming can be a phobia for some, but most public pools will have a section for lap swimming so you don’t have to worry about anything in the water!
Don’t want to get in the water? Just get on it! Stand up paddleboarding has taken the world by storm in recent years. It’s a great upper body and core workout, and it helps with balance. Advanced paddlers can even try doing some yoga on the board! It’s a great activity to do with friends and family. Just be especially careful with sun protection because water reflects harmful rays from the sun, meaning you get blasted from above and below.
Whatever you decide to do to stay fit during the summer, remember to hydrate with electrolytes and pay attention to heat warnings. Also, know the signs of heat illnesses. Getting sick from the heat is going to hurt your fitness more than if you didn’t work as hard as you wanted to. Pushing yourself too hard can and most likely will do more harm than good.