A Guide to Walking in Hot Weather
In the UK, summer is arguably the best and most popular time to get some great hiking done. You can set off to enjoy the clear, bright skies, long days that are full of sunlight and warm weather; the perfect combination! As with any walk or hike, it’s essential to be prepared. With this in mind, we’ve developed these snippets of advice so that you can get the most out of your walks in hot weather.
When you adjust your approach and take a few added precautions, the higher summer temperatures won’t hold you back when you’re walking!
Choose the Right Route
One of the best things you can do is take the time to consider the various routes and trails available. Hopping in the car and heading out to a track that offers minimal shade isn’t always the smartest idea. Therefore, if you have the option to hit a trail that can serve up some respite from the sun’s rays, that would be helpful.
Picking the ideal walking route comes down to three fundamentals:
Get these basics right and you’re on to a winner!
Pick An Early Start Time
Waking up early might be hard work when it’s for work, but when it comes to doing it for a day of walking, it suddenly becomes far easier! This also happens to be a very good tip for making the most of walking in the summer. This is because once the clock strikes 11AM, you can expect the temperatures to begin to rise, and the time between then and 2PM is typically when the heat is at its peak.
So, the earlier you arrive, the longer you will be able to walk in more comfortable conditions.
Stay Covered Up
This might be a tip that some of you are aware of and it may appear to be counterintuitive to some. However, wearing long sleeves to accompany your summer hiking boots is a wise move.
The reason for this is that long sleeves made of a wicking fabric allow for the transfer of sweat away from your skin. This gives your skin chance to dry while also creating some airflow between the fabric and your skin that creates a cooling effect which gives you protection against UV damage and sunburn too.
Remember to wear a wide-brimmed hat and cover your eyes with a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses as they will help to keep you protected, cool and comfortable. This might be particularly useful for anyone who is looking at walking at altitude because the sun is stronger once you get higher up. Another slice of advice is to not wear cotton and opt for wool or wicking fabrics instead.
On a typical hike, your body will lose around a litre of fluids every hour. When your walk is more strenuous because of hot weather, it can cause you to lose more than double that! With this in mind, it’s paramount that you pack more water than you feel you will need.
Take regular sips and not big gulps after a bigger gap in time. This is because, in most situations, your body is only able to efficiently absorb around half a litre of water every 60 minutes. So, if you drink lots of water in one go, you run the risk of causing an imbalance of minerals in your blood and diluting the blood, which, in turn, decreases mineral concentrations.
One of the biggest hydration tips you can remember is that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Staying hydrated is great, but you should ensure that you also take the time to rebalance electrolytes in your body too. The good thing is that you can achieve both at the same time by taking advantage of sodium and potassium-based sachets that are poured in with your water. This will keep you packed with energy on your walk.
Additionally, you should consume complex carbohydrates as opposed to simple ones; they will give you more energy and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Consider eating porridge for breakfast and then packing some trail mixes, bananas and electrolyte gels in your backpack for optimum nutrition.
Take A Rest
It’s important to take a break while you’re on walks. Not only does this give you the chance to get stuck into those snacks and the hydration we mentioned, it means you have an extra moment to take in your surroundings and maybe grab a photo or two.
Sit in a nice bit of shade, give your muscles the opportunity to recover and let your body temperature cool down. If you do this, it will almost certainly make the rest of the walk more enjoyable.
Remember To Pack Extras
When you are walking in hot weather, it’s well worth packing at least one extra pair of socks. This can be useful for several reasons, but mainly in case of blisters and to give your feet a treat after they’ve been sweating more than usual from the hot weather. If you happen to feel a hot spot in your boots, just take the time to stop in a shaded area and switch your socks over.
Tip: if you turn the already-worn pair inside-out and fasten them to the outside of your bag, they’ll dry out nicely so you don’t have to deal with damp socks when you arrive at home and it will also protect your bag from unwelcome odours.
These are our favourite pieces of advice for walking in hot weather. Do you have any that you swear by? If you have a valuable tip for staying cool while you’re out on a hot weather walk or hike, let us know on social media! #LOWAUK