Walking in the UK is normally a cool affair, so when the temperature rises it often takes us by surprise. Next week it looks as though we're in for a hot spell so here’s some advice for when you’re out Nordic walking:
Lowering your body temperature in the hour before you Nordic walk in the heat slows the rate at which your core temperature rises once you’re out the door. So try precooling before you head out.
Hydrate before, during and after your Nordic walk. Don’t be afraid to ask the instructor to stop so you can drink. On a longer walk you may also need to replace vital salts and minerals so take electrolyte tablets with you.
Wear the right clothes and shoes
Light-coloured clothes will reflect the sun’s rays away from you (rather than absorbing them with dark gear). Wear moisture wicking fabrics where possible. In any event avoid tight clothes that won’t allow a breeze to get through and switch to thinner socks as your feet will naturally swell in warm weather. We don’t recommend Nordic walking in sandals for the obvious risk that you might spike yourself!
Keep a cool head and protect your skin
A breathable cap or hat with a wide brim is ideal for keeping the sun off your head. Sun screen is important too so don’t leave home without it. If you’re sensitive to insect bites now is the time to buy some deet based insect repellant. It will also deter ticks.
Watch out for the key signs of dehydration: thirst, headache, not being able to think clearly, drowsiness, fatigue, achiness. If you get any of these tell your instructor, stop in a shady place, rest and rehydrate. Cardio exercise in scorching heat can put serious stress on your body and raise your heart rate. Wearing a heart rate monitor will help you keep an eye on how you’re dealing with the heat. In any event and at all times listen to your body and stop if you need to.
NHS Choices has further great advice for how to keep cool during a heatwave. Click here to read more.