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When is the best time to go for a walk - morning or evening?

Walking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, stay fit and explore new places. But when the temperature rises, walking can also pose some challenges and risks. How can you walk safely and comfortably in hot weather? And what should you wear and take with you on your walks?

In this article, we will answer these questions and more, with some tips and advice for people looking to get out and about on foot this summer.

Walking in hot weather

Walking in sunny weather has many benefits, such as boosting your mood, improving your vitamin D levels and increasing your metabolism. However, the hotter it gets, the higher the potential risk of dehydration, overheating, sunburn and heatstroke. To avoid these problems, here are some tips on how to walk safely in hot weather:

  • Choose a cool time of day to walk. Avoid walking between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest. Plan your walks in the early morning or the evening when the temperature is lower.
  • Select a route that includes shade. Avoid walking in direct sun or on asphalt or concrete that can reflect heat. Look for routes that have trees, buildings or other sources of shade along the way.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your walk. Carry a water bottle with you or plan your route so that you have access to water fountains or shops where you can buy water. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks that can dehydrate you.
  • Use cooling measures. You can lower your body temperature by applying cold water or ice packs to your wrists, where blood vessels are close to the skin surface. You can also spray yourself with water mist or use a cooling gel or spray.
  • Take it easy. Don’t walk too fast or too far in hot weather. Reduce your speed, distance and intensity according to how you feel. Take frequent breaks in the shade and rest if you feel tired or unwell.
  • Watch for signs of heat-related illness. If you experience any symptoms of heat exhaustion (such as headache, dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps) or heatstroke (such as confusion, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature), stop walking immediately and seek medical attention.

What to wear when walking in hot weather

Choosing the right clothing for walking in hot weather is important for your comfort and safety. Here are some tips on what to wear:

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that allows air circulation and sweat evaporation. Avoid dark colours that absorb heat and synthetic fabrics that trap moisture.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim or a visor to protect your face and head from the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare and harmful rays.
  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 on all exposed skin areas. Reapply it every two hours or more often if you sweat a lot.
  • Wear socks that are made of breathable materials such as cotton or wool. Avoid socks that are too thick or tight.

Best shoes for walking in hot weather

The shoes you wear for walking in hot weather should be comfortable, breathable and supportive. Here are some features to look for when choosing which shoes to wear:

  • Ventilation: Look for shoes that have mesh panels or perforations that allow air flow and moisture wicking. Avoid shoes that are made of leather or plastic that can trap heat and sweat.
  • Cushioning: Look for shoes that have adequate padding and shock absorption in the sole and heel areas. This will reduce the impact on your feet and joints when walking on hard surfaces.
  • Fit: Look for shoes that fit well without being too tight or too loose. Your shoes should have enough room for your toes to wiggle but not slide around inside them.

When is it too hot to go for a walk

There is no definitive answer to this question as different people have varying levels of tolerance and sensitivity to heat. However, it is advisable to avoid walking during the hottest times of the day between 11am and 3pm and stick to shaded areas, especially if you have underlying medical conditions where you may be more vulnerable to the effects of hot weather.

Do you burn more calories walking in hot weather?

Walking in hot weather can burn more calories because your body works harder to cool itself, however you tend to lose water weight from sweating, not fat. Your body also acclimatises to the heat over time and subsequently burns fewer calories. Plus, you might not enjoy, or be able to, walk as far in hot weather, meaning you are unlikely to burn as many calories as on cooler days where you may be able to walk further and sustain a brisker pace for longer.

What is the best pace for walking in hot weather?

Advice from the British Heart Foundation suggests that a short, brisk walk is ideal for helping you burn calories, build stamina and boost heart health in hot weather. A brisk walk is faster than a stroll but should not leave you so out of breath that you’re unable to hold a conversation.

Final thoughts

Feeling the warmth on our skin as we head out for a walk on a summer’s day can do wonders for our health and wellbeing, especially in a county such as Dorset where we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to great walking routes. Preparation, however, is key, so be sure to follow the guidance provided in this article before heading out on a hot day.

If you’re looking to get fit and active, LiveWell Dorset it here to help, whatever the weather. Our fantastic team of Wellness advisors have helped thousands of people across Dorset live healthier, happier lives and we’d love to help you too! Register with us today or contact the team for more information.


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