Female runner tying her laces next to a bottle of water

7 budget-friendly ways to work out in a heatwave

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

When the weather’s hot it can be hard to keep up with exercising. To help, we researched ways that you can work out and keep your cool at the same time. 

There are lots of ways to work out without signing up to expensive gym memberships or investing in costly equipment. Walking or jogging is free, as is working out at home with a video. But however you choose to exercise, keeping your cool in the heat can be difficult. Get off to the best start with these seven tips. 

1. Cool down before you exercise 

Everyone knows the importance of warming up your muscles before starting a workout, but during hot weather you’ll be feeling warm already. Before starting your warm-up, lower your body temperature by taking a cool shower or having a cool drink. Working out in the heat when you’re already feeling hot and bothered isn’t a recipe for success. 

2. Start your workout early 

The coolest time of day is always early morning just before the sun rises, so if you can get out of bed early your body will thank you for it. If that’s too early for you then wait until late evening as that’s the next coolest. Try and avoid working out during the day and especially during the hottest hours between 11am and 2pm. 

3. Working out on a budget at home 

If the thought of going outside in the heat doesn’t appeal then exercise at home using weights, a skipping rope, your own body weight, and an exercise DVD or video on YouTube.  It’s easy to set up a home workout area on a budget, you don’t even need to spend anything to get started. But do make sure you’ve got supportive shoes, a clear space around you and a comfy mat or towel for floor work. 

4. Stay hydrated 

You should try to drink at least two litres of water every day, and even more when you’re working out. If you’re exercising at home, it’s easy to keep water nearby. If you’re going out to workout, fill your water bottle before leaving the house so you don’t have to buy water. You don’t need to spend money on sports drinks unless you’re going to be working out intensely for over an hour. 

5. Wear the right clothing 

It’s tempting to pull on an old t-shirt to workout in, but they’re not designed to keep you cool. As you sweat it will stick to your skin and make you feel even hotter. 

It’s worth buying an outfit specially designed for exercise. Look out for light coloured items that mention words like “moisture-wicking” or “breathable” as they’ll draw the sweat away from your skin and help you stay cooler. Avoid brand names and you won’t need to spend much either. For example, Decathlon is a good place to find budget sportswear and swimwear. 

6. Change your workout routine 

Keeping up with your fitness is easier in hot weather if you adjust your usual routine. If you usually run for 10km, consider taking it slower for 5k. Or find a different exercise that will help keep you cooler like swimming or paddle boarding, which are great all-over body workouts. There are places you can wild swim in the UK and it’s totally free - but do take precautions and research carefully before taking the plunge. Alternatively, local swimming pools are a budget-friendly way of working out in the water. 

7. Keep a cool head 

If you can’t avoid working out in the sun, then as well as packing a good SPF, throwing on a hat that’s been designed for exercise is a good way to keep protected. 

It’ll keep your head cool as it protects you from the sun and draws sweat away from you too. For example, this unisex running cap from Sports Direct is a great budget buy at £6.99 or this unisex cap from Decathlon is also a bargain at £6.99. 

How hot is too hot for exercise? 

Some people have a higher threshold for heat than others, but as the temperature rises it’s vital to be aware of the risks of exercising in the heat. Exercising in high temperatures puts more strain on the body as it sweats more to cool down. This has the effect of lowering your blood pressure and can result in feelings of dizziness, leading to fainting.  

If it feels too hot to exercise outside, then stay indoors and exercise by a fan. If while working out, you start to feel faint then listen to your body. Stop exercising and drink plenty of water while you cool down. 

If you liked these tips, check out these 7 tips to healthier habits. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

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Female runner tying her laces next to a bottle of water Female runner tying her laces next to a bottle of water