Summer fitness survival guide

Five hot workout tips to help you keep your fitness promises and stay safe in the heat.

5 summer workout tips


Summer’s warmth and sunshine brings fresh motivation to get out and move. But while balmy, breezy days can be inviting, searing temperatures can make you want to duck for cover. Combat common heat-induced excuses with simple changes to how you approach activity over summer.


1. Make a splash

The water is a great place to be when it's warm outside. And the best part? You’re kept cool while exercising. Swimming is great for everyone whether you’re just starting out or you’re a swimming fanatic. If you are going to swim, stroke correction classes are a good way to make your stroke more efficient. And swimming isn't the only way to get a water workout – why not try aqua aerobics or deep-water running? Your body’s resistance against the water gives you a great cardio and strength workout.


2. Plan & modify

Exercising in extreme weather conditions can be dangerous. “Heat illness is a serious concern when exercising in the heat and humidity because your body’s ability to lose heat through sweat is reduced,” says accredited exercise physiologist Dr Ian Gillam. Heat illness is the term for heat exhaustion, which is common, while heat stroke is rare but life-threatening. Symptoms of both include nausea, dizziness and loss of coordination. When it’s really hot, Dr Gillam advises against exercise that’s high intensity and lasts longer than 30 minutes. So, ditch your usual hilly route for a shorter walk on a shaded flat path or reschedule your workout to early in the morning or late in the evening.


3. Exercise indoors

If moving during the cooler hours isn't an option for you, train in an air-conditioned or cooler environment, whether that’s at home, the gym, or a fitness studio. There are plenty of options: online workout videos, circuit training, fitness classes, Pilates, weights, yoga, and more. You could consider getting a 10-week membership to a class or gym just to cover you for the warmer months. Or you could always take up an indoor sport like netball, soccer or cricket. Committing to a team is a great way to stay motivated.


4. Switch it up

A change of season is a great cue to change your exercise routine. Changing your movement routine is a great way to stay motivated and to use different muscle groups. Think about what movement you enjoy doing and what would fit into your current lifestyle.


5. Have fun in the sun

Put a holiday spin on your workouts. Think surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, beach volleyball or walking in the soft sand. Pick one activity every Sunday you wouldn't do in winter. Take the family to the water slides and run up and down the steps with the kids all day. It’s a surprisingly good workout.


6. Drink plenty of water

To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids each day, not just when exercising. A dry mouth, light-headedness, headache and little or no urination are all signs of inadequate fluid intake. Carry a water bottle around with you that you can sip on throughout the day.


7. Apply sunscreen

Apply a high-protection water-resistant or sports sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours or immediately after swimming or heavy sweating.


8. Play it safe

Follow these red-hot tips for safe summer fitness.

  • Wear a well-vented hat, or helmet if you’re cycling, and wrap around sunnies.
  • Dress in cooling fabrics, such as a loose cotton T-shirt and shorts, or workout gear made from moisture-wicking material that draws sweat away from the skin.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol on your training days – it’s dehydrating, and dehydration can lead to heat cramps. Symptoms typically include cramps in the arms, legs or abdomen, and often appear hours after exercising, while you’re relaxing.
  • Sip some water before, during and after your workout. If you choose to have a sports drink, make sure you track it.