Avoid the hottest part of the day
During the height of summer, you want to avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day when the sun is at its strongest. Try to avoid strenuous summer walking or hiking between 11:00 and 15:00 as this can put you at a higher risk of developing heatstroke. If you can, get up early and complete your walk before the hottest part of the day or head out later in the afternoon when the temperature is starting to cool down. Heading out in the early evening is also a great time to catch the sun going down.
When it’s really hot all we feel like doing is throwing on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. Whilst this is fine for chilled days in the garden if you’re summer walking or heading out on longer hikes you’ll want to cover your skin as much as you comfortably can. When it comes to choosing the best walking clothes for summer, Items like moisture-wicking long sleeve shirts are great for keeping your skin protected without causing you to overheat. Any skin that is left on show, should be smothered with sun cream, and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses!
Pack sun cream
As we’ve just mentioned, if you’ve got any skin on show, apply sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) before you head out and during your walk or hike. Remember to pack some in your backpack as you’ll need to top up throughout the day as it starts to wear off. It’s an obvious point to make, but preventing sunburn is really important to keeping yourself feeling well when you're exercising on hot days.
Get the right footwear
Flip flops and sandals are perfect for the beach but aren’t going to be comfortable if you’re out on a walk or hike during the summer. When summer walking, you need hiking boots that are lightweight, yet supportive and durable. From our range of LOWA military boots, we recommend our LOWA Zephyr GTX Mid TF Boots in Coyote Op for summer walking. Designed for use in warmer climates, the performance gore-tex lining draws moisture and heat away from the feet, whilst the LOWA Cross sole prevents discomfort and provides excellent grip.
For another lightweight summer walking boot, we would also recommend the LOWA Innox Pro GTX Mid TF Boot. Finished with a lightweight yet supportive LOWA Monowrap frame for the midsole, these LOWA boots are fitted with a specialist LOWA DynaPu midsole to ensure optimum comfort and stability for long-distance summer walking.
The key to staying hydrated when you’re summer walking is to take small sips regularly. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty and then drink gallons of water in one go. Instead, sip water consistently throughout your walk even when you don’t feel thirsty to ensure you are keeping yourself hydrated. You’ll need to drink a lot more water than you would in cooler weather so make sure to take plenty with you as you don’t want to find yourself running out.
Say yes to salty snacks
When it’s gloriously sunny outside we’re likely to feel more thirsty which is why it may seem counterintuitive to eat more salt. However, it is actually salt that is crucial for increasing the rate at which your body can hold and absorb water. This means that eating salty foods will help your body to replenish some of the fluids lost through sweat. Snacks that are salty and high in energy, such as trail mix or nuts are perfect for keeping your body fuelled when you’re summer walking.
Plan according to the weather forecast
Check the forecast before you head out and if the temperature is set to be really soaring then you may want to consider doing a slightly shorter walk than usual. Plan a shorter route or plan a spot where you can cut your walk short if you need to. You don’t want to feel overheated with miles of walking to get you back home and so it’s better to plan ahead according to the forecast.
Recognise the signs of heatstroke
If you’ve taken all of the above measures into account then it’s unlikely you’re going to experience heatstroke. However, whenever you’re summer walking, particularly over longer distances, it’s always a sensible idea to be aware of the early signs of heatstroke. Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, lack of sweating, headache, muscle cramps or disorientation. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your fellow walkers, you should stop exercising straight away, find a spot to cool down in, and see medical attention if necessary.
Prevention is everything when it comes to walking or hiking safely in the sun, and so it’s always better to do a bit of planning to prevent any unwanted heatstroke and ensure you have the most enjoyable time.