How To Get To Exercise In Very Hot Weather- Days 16 & 17 of Low Carbon Living

Foot & lower leg in athletic wear on path

Source: Gill King, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Days 16 & 17 of 365 Days Of Low Carbon Living.

We’re in a heatwave. How can I:

  • travel to a gym class
  • get my regular aerobic exercise

without suffering heatstroke or contributing more damage to our climate by travelling in air-conditioned, petrol-driven car?The situation

1 Yesterday I wanted to try out a new fitness class, one that appears to suit me better than any other on offer at my gym.

The class is mid-morning, so the day would be warming up.

But how warm would it be for my travels, especially with the forecast temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is about 10 mins walk between home and the bus now, and between the bus and the gym – under more favorable circumstances. It’s also uphill for the last leg home. Could I manage the walking involved in travelling by bus…without straining myself in the heat?

2 Today I wanted my daily walk to go to the nearest shopping centre to put some plastic wrapping in for recycling. My local shops (about 6 minutes walk) doesn’t have the facility, so it would be a 15-20 minute walk each way to the bigger shops.

Again the forecast temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ideally, exercise on hot days is done in the cool of early morning.

I woke at 5:30am but that was too early for the shop to be open. So I stayed in bed…and woke at 9:15 when the day was already warming up. Could I stick to my plan?

What I did

1  I did catch the bus to the gym, including the all the walks.

The walk at the gym end was shorter than I remembered – only about 7 minutes.

It was also easier walking in the shade than in the sun. Luckily, much of the walking route is in the shade. (I would not have attempted it if it was all in the sun.) I was a bit dubious about the gym end of the walk. Much of the pathway is accompanied by Casuarina trees, not known for providing dense shade from spreading branches. However, where the trees were on both sides of the path, their height of the trees and their closeness to the path meant that the path was still shaded at 11:40am.

Asphalt path in sun, Casuarinas on one side, drain on other

An unshaded path is much hotter for people using it. Source: Gill King, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Asphalt path shaded by Casuarina trees

Trees on either side of path provide welcome shade. Source: Gill King, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Finally, I took care to walk slowly during the hottest (and sunniest) parts of my walk.

The result? I arrived home warm but not boiling nor exhausted.

2  For my mid-morning aerobic walk to the shops and back, I took care to choose the most shaded route and to walk much more slowly than usual.

That meant sometimes walking alongside the path so as to be in the shade. (If I had been walking later, there would have been insufficient shade.)

The result? Because of the heat, walking at a moderate to moderately slow pace caused my pulse to quicken to the level I usually achieve by walking briskly. This was as I predicted (based on what I know about how my body works) and it enabled me to get my aerobic exercise and achieve an errand all without getting too hot and exhausted.

Why – and why now?

Two previous posts (Days 11 & 12 and Days 14 & 15) outlined the main reasons why it is important for us to reduce car use, and my post for Days 3, 4 & 5 outlined the why it is desirable to minimise use of air-conditioning.

On top of that, air-conditioning in cars uses more energy and thus more fuel in most of our cars currently…which means more damage to our climate, from using both the fuel and the refrigerants in the air-conditioner.

Also, a major consequence of damage to our climate is more frequent and more extreme hot weather events. It is important, therefore, to learn how to live in harmony with our weather – without contributing more to the causes of climate change.

The challenge

Two challenges today:

1 Can you travel to your exercise sessions – or do your aerobic exercise – in a low carbon way even when the weather is forecast to be hot? See if you can – and then do it! (Caution: do not endanger your health. The key is to avoid overheating by staying cool and

2 If pathways in the places you use are not sheltered, ask the relevant authorities to install shelter – ideally trees that will cope with a warming climate.

Join me!

Any change or challenge is easier if you have company along the way.

So let’s embark on this journey together.

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A problem shared is a problem halved. We’re all affected by the changes to our world so we need to be all in on the action!

Till next time…