Top tips for staying cool during a heatwave
With lockdown measures easing and unlimited outdoor exercise now permitted, it is the perfect time to get out and embrace our new, socially distanced normal. The first days of summer have seen weather in the UK get hotter and hotter. Despite being used to unpredictable weather patterns, keeping cool during hot weather is no doubt still a challenge.
Here we reveal our top tips for staying cool during a heatwave so you can be prepared whatever the great British summer has in store for us.
Time your outing right
Whether you are exploring nature in your local area, working up at sweat in your garden or heading a little further afield to while away the day, choosing when you get outside can make all the difference to just how comfortable you feel and how hydrated you stay.
During a heatwave, you should avoid going out when temperatures are at their highest. Knowing your local climate is the best way to time things just right. On hot days in the UK, temperatures usually peak at midday and slowly begin to climb down until the early evening. In coastal settings, however, the breeze from the sea can cool temperatures much faster.
An early morning or late afternoon jaunt is, therefore, the best bet for enjoying comfortably cooler weather. As a general rule of thumb, stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm.
Take in some shade
Taking breaks in the shade will help to keep body temperatures down during a heatwave. Just a few, well-timed breaks away from direct sunlight will provide respite from a heatwave and give you the energy to carry on with your day, especially when walking or exercising.
Choosing a route that steers clear of asphalt or concrete and takes in more natural surface paths, like grass and gravel, will also keep you cooler.
While we don’t encourage tons of baggage when walking around and enjoying hot weather, you should be prepared with the right gear.
It all starts with the correct attire. During a heatwave, loose-fitting cotton clothing will keep you light and breezy. Don’t forget to accessorise with shades and a sun hat to protect your eyes, head and neck from the dazzling rays.
Packing and using a handheld fan can keep you cool, even in the hottest part of the day. A flannel that you can dampen and apply to your head and neck will also provide an easy way to cool down fast.
Know your limits
If you can’t or don’t want to avoid the heat, knowing your personal limits for staying out in the sun is important. Simply slowing down and taking it easy will enable your body to manage the excess heat internally, leaving you cool, calm and comfortable externally.
Watch out for the signs of dehydration and heatstroke, and act fast to look after your health and wellbeing during a heatwave.
The golden rule of coping in a heatwave is staying as hydrated as possible. During warmer weather, your body has to work much harder. Make sure it has the fuel it needs throughout the day by upping your water intake. Forbes explains the importance of staying hydrated during hot weather:
“As the weather heats up, your body starts to sweat to regulate its temperature. In all, you have 2.6 million sweat glands working to keep you cool by releasing fluids through your pores. The key is constantly replenishing this fluid loss. The amount of water that is right for your body depends on several factors. The U.S. National Research Council recommends eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day.”
Staying hydrated during hot weather, or at any time of the year, isn’t about downing as much water as you can during a single sitting. Replenishing fluids at regular intervals is the key to good hydration. Read our guide to remembering to hydrate all day long for more tips.