For many, the summer brings longer leisure hours and the chance to relax at the seaside and enjoy the sun. But for others, the better weather means there's more time for outdoor sports, whether it's tennis in the park, jogging on the beach or a dip in the local pool. And summer exercise is a great way to feel healthy and toned and ready to show of the tan to best advantage. But hot weather work outs bring added risks, so, before you start sports in the sunshine, take a look at our tips:
Beware of the sun
High temperatures and UV rays are dangerous to athletes. Be prepared to reduce the number of hours and intensity of the workout during summer months, particularly if you are playing sport or exercising outside.
Choose the best time
Clearly you are limited by the opening hours and booking slots of some sports facilities, but try and avoid direct exposure to the sun, particularly in the middle of the day. If you have a choice, choose the shady tennis court, for example, and make the booking for early morning or late afternoon, when it's not so hot and the sun is lower in the sky.
Get in gear
Summer sportswear should be lightweight and made of a fabric that breathes and allows the heat generated by exercise to escape. When exercising outdoors, you should also wear a hat and sunglasses or a visor, and don't forget to use sunscreen – and reapply if you perspire a lot.
It's important to replace fluids that are used up during exercise. That includes drinking water at intervals while you're working our, not simply afterwards. You can also spritz with water to lower body temperature and cool down.
In summer it can be tempting to skip meals and be less regular in our eating habits, but a healthy diet – with oily fish and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – is the sound base for general good health. In the hotter weather in particular, it's a good idea to avoid excessive salt and spices and to increase fluid intake before, during and after exercise