June 27, 2019, by Charlotte Gauja

Tips for Exercising in Hot Weather

Being in a hot country shouldn’t stop you from exercising but it’s important to make sure you look after your body when you do exercise. On a recent trip to Malaysia for the Tri Campus Games, a few of the UK athletes experienced difficulties adapting to playing sport in the hot, humid climate of South-East Asia.

The first athlete suffered from heat exhaustion after playing two basketball matches in the same day. Although he was playing indoors and was subbed off for parts of the match, later that evening he experienced nausea and dizziness and an increased heart rate.

Symptoms to look out for that indicate heat exhaustion which can lead to heat stroke include:

  • Weakness
  • Light headedness
  • Dizziness
  • Going pale
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat


The following tips should help reduce the chances of getting heat exhaustion or if you feel like you may have heat exhaustion.


  1. Stay hydrated – Make sure you are well hydrated before, during and after any match or training session. Carry water with you at all times, leaving it on the side of the pitch or court and keep drinking during the match even if you don’t feel thirsty. If there is a cool box or ice box available, pop your bottle in there so you can cool down too. After the match, make sure you continue to drink water for the next couple of hours.


  1. Rest – Exercising in heat will make you feel tired more quickly than in cooler conditions so make sure you take plenty of rest between matches/sets or if you’re subbed off. If you have a few hours off in between matches or training, take time to rest and have a nap if you need to. Make sure you get plenty of sleep each night as well to help you recover and prepare for the next day.


  1. Time of day – Where possible, avoid exercising outdoors from 11am-3pm as this tends to be the hottest time of day when the sun’s rays are strongest.


  1. Clothing – Wear loose, light coloured clothing when playing sport. The lighter colour will help reflect heat and cotton clothing will help evaporation of sweat to keep you cool. Some sport clothing’s are also designed to keep you cool and wick sweat away.


  1. Sun cream – Make sure to apply sun cream before exercising and during to avoid burning which can increase your risk of sunstroke. Remember to keep reapplying particularly when you’re sweating a lot which can wash it off.


  1. Electrolytes and salts – Add hydration sachets to your water or drink hydration drinks with electrolytes in them to replenish everything you have sweated out. Sports drinks are also good as they have carbohydrates to provide energy as well as electrolytes.


  1. Stop if you feel faint or dizzy! If you start to experience any of symptoms of heat exhaustion whilst exercising make sure you take a break, rest in some shade and try to cool down your body with ice and keep drinking to stay hydrated. If you feel unwell, make sure you don’t continue playing as this may exacerbate your symptoms.


Did you know?

You may be more likely to bruise in hotter conditions.

Another athlete experienced excessive bruising on her forearms each time she played volleyball. Evidence is limited about the reasons for this but could be due to having more dilated blood vessels in the heat which are more likely to break and cause a bruise.

What to do: We applied cold spray and used ice to decrease inflammation to the area and before each match taped her forearms with tape to provide the skin with some protection.

If bruising continues when you return home or you have any concerns make sure you seek medical advice from your GP.


Did you know?

Swelling particularly post injury is more significant in the heat

Another basketball player had significant swelling which occurred spontaneously whilst in Malaysia. There is minimal research into the causes of this but it is most likely because in the heat, swelling occurs more obviously as when the blood supply to the skin increases which also radiates heat, fluid moves out of the blood vessels and into the tissues causing swelling. Swelling is more likely to be more significant post injury as well.


What to do: elevate your legs when you are not playing and at night to help reduce swelling and if you have compression socks wear these while resting and on planes.


If you experience any injuries from exercising in the upcoming heat wave and would like an expert opinion on injury prevention, book an appointment at one of our Sports Injury Clinic’s.


Happy exercising!

Posted in Sports Injury Clinic