Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Just because the temperatures are soaring outside is no reason to give up on your daily walk. However you must take some precautions. If you suffer from any heart ailments you might be well advised to switch to indoor walking in a gym or walking in an air-conditioned mall. Be advised by your doctor.
Preparation before you set out to walk is the most important aspect of walking outside in warm weather. If possible choose the coolest part of the day, early morning or late evening. Try to avoid the hours between twelve and two in the afternoon when the sun is at its warmest. Walk on the shaded side of the road or street. Choose routes which have trees to shade or by a riverbank or lake if you can.
You will want to avoid sunburn, chafing, heat rash, and dehydration.
Before you set out drink plenty of water. You could add a squirt of lime or lemon to the water to make it more refreshing. Avoid drinking caffeine as caffeine is a diuretic and will cause you to eliminate more water. Carry a bottle of water with you and take sips of water often, replenishing the bottle on your way if you can. As sweating also eliminates essential body salts (electrolytes) switch to drinking a sports drink, which contains electrolytes, after about an hour of walking.
To avoid sunburn cover all exposed areas of skin liberally with a high factor sun screen. Renew your sunscreen every couple of hours. Wear a light coloured hat with a visor and a neck drape which has vents or meshing to allow your head to breathe. Light colours reflect the heat of the sun. A short sleeved t-shirt will protect the upper arms, which is a vulnerable area. Wear good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare. .
Any area of the body which is in contact with clothing is prone to chafing. The most vulnerable areas are underarm, crotch, inner thighs, and breast. Rub these areas with a generous covering of petroleum jelly. To avoid chafing on the thighs wear bicycle-type shorts. Close fitting shorts are less likely to cause chafing. If you wish you could layer them with another looser pair on top.
Feet need special attention in hot weather. Cover them liberally with petroleum jelly. Use socks made from man-made fibres which will wick away the moisture from your feet. If feet become too soft from excess moisture they will blister. Ensure that your shoes are light and breathable but which also give you sufficient arch and ankle support. When choosing shoes or boots take the terrain you will be walking on into account. Walking on the street, walking in the forest, or hill walking would demand a different type of footwear.
T- Shirts should also be of wicking fabric which draws the moisture away from the skin and facilitates quicker drying. Donít forget that if you walk in late evening the temperature may lower before the end of your walk and you may need another layer of clothing to avoid chills.
If you take adequate precautions there is no reason why you should not be able to walk safely and comfortably in higher temperatures.
Enjoy your walk !