Many people enjoy a walking holiday somewhere sunny, but it’s important that you stay fit and healthy in the sunshine. Here are 14 tips for keeping cool and safe even when temperatures rise.
- Protect your skin. Wear a high SPF sunscreen and don’t forget the back of your neck, the tip of your ears and your hands. If you are using walking poles remember to add plenty of suncream to the inner forearms because these will be more open to the sun than when you have your arms by your sides. Re-apply cream regularly, especially if you sweat.
- Wear UV protecting clothing. Some specially made shorts, t-shirts and shirts have a high SPF sun-protecting rating. It can be a better option to wear a shirt with long, loose-fitting sleeves than to try to protect skin with sun cream.
- Wear lighter colours or white to reflect the hot sun, rather than darker or black clothes that tend to absorb the heat.
- Look for fabrics that pledge to wick-away sweat. These fabrics do not actually wipe the sweat form your skin but they do allow an easier process of evaporation so you do not end up wet and clammy.
- Wear looser clothing rather than tight and constricting outfits.
- Wear a sun hat. A hat with a brim all the way round will keep more sun off your head, face and neck. Hats with a drop-down sunshade at the back are useful for when the sun’s heat is at your back.
- Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from the harsh glare and UV rays of the sun.
- Set off earlier in the day when it’s cooler to avoid the highest temperatures of the day.
- Avoid friction and rubs. These can occur when you sweat and usually happen where clothes are too tight or a rucksack strap rubs on bare skin. Your feet can be prone to more rubs and blisters when it is hot and sweaty. Sometimes it's better to change your shoes for something lightweight or make sure you tape any vulnerable areas.
- If it’s set to be a very hot day, try to take a break from walking at the hottest point of the day when the sun is highest in the sky. This is around mid-day.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You could add rehydration sports tablets to the water to replace salts lost through sweating.
- Carry an insulated water bottle with ice-cold water inside. This can be used for drinking and for mopping your hot brow. Hydro Flask make bottles of different sizes that keep fluid cold - or hot.
- Manage your expectations. You might be keen to walk 25 miles each day but if the weather is too hot or sunny you might need to adjust your distances to suit. If you end up with sunstroke because you have spent too much time outdoors this will end your trip so it’s better to walk shorter days but still walk each day.
- If you know that you do not fare well in hot sunshine why not book a walking holiday earlier or later in the summer and enjoy sunny but cooler conditions?
** This is an updated version of a post originally published in 2016 **