The heat is on this summer. As temperatures rise it may be difficult to get that run in because let’s face it, who wants to sweat more? In sweltering heat it’s nice to sit outside and enjoy a cool drink or find a nice, air conditioned venue to escape to.
But the summertime is the best time to get outside because of the variety of exercise opportunities. Bicycling, running, canoeing, swimming, skating and hiking are some of the fun multi-sensory opportunities to get fit and enjoy your surroundings, another motivation for exercising outside this summer. Below are some tips for promoting summer fitness.
- Time of day – exercise during the cooler times of day when the sun is not at its peak. Completing your workout out before 10:00AM or starting after 3:00PM is the optimal time period for avoiding serious sun and heat.
Before and after
2. Try new activities – A new outdoor park opened near us that offers paddle boating. It’s a fun and different way to enjoy the outdoors close to home. Have you ever wanted to be part of a crew team? In Philadelphia there is a community rowing group that gets crews together to row, giving participants a sense of the teamwork involved while providing a great workout on the water!
3. Clothing – stick with light colored, light weight clothing that reflects light and deflects body heat. Find fabrics made of natural fibers such as linen, cotton or even rayon (it’s semi-synthetic but it’s made from natural materials and breathes well). Loose weaves and fine threads will make for a more breathable garment, one that will not retain moisture and air but instead keep you cool.
4. Stay hydrated throughout your workout and replace electrolytes and salt lost through sweating.
5. Choose the route – if running is your thing, choose routes that take advantage of shade, through parks and shaded paths. USTAF has running routes in its database for most cities. Go http://www.usatf.org/routes/ to check routes for your town.
Fitness Magazine offers these additional tips.
6. Stay on the dirt – Try to walk, run, or cycle on dirt or gravel paths, since asphalt and concrete tend to radiate heat and reflect the sun’s rays, making you feel hotter. Live near water? Take advantage of the breeze on even steamy days; if possible, start out with the wind at your back, so when you’re finishing you’ll be running into a headwind, which is cooler.
7.Cool down with essential oils – Dabbing a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil on the back of your neck and at your temples just before your workout provides a cooling effect and also opens up your nasal passages, so you can breathe a little easier when the air is humid, says Minna Lessig, creator of the Tank Top Arms, Bikini Belly, Boy Shorts Bottom In fact, research has found that athletes who sniffed peppermint during their workout ran faster, had greater grip strength, and could do more push-ups than those who didn’t.
8. Practice random acts of fitness – Sneak in little bits of exercise with some summer-friendly activities. For example: Washing the car for 30 minutes burns about 100 calories for a 140-pound woman; gardening burns 128. Other options: throwing a Frisbee, walking the dog, playing a game of volleyball (all about 100 calories), mowing the lawn (176 calories), biking around the neighborhood (192 calories), or hula-hooping, which burns about 50 calories in just 10 minutes.
9. Refuel with fruit – They’re more than 80 percent water, so fruits such as grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew are a tasty way to replenish fluids and boost your energy post-workout, says Leslie Bonci, RD, director of sports medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Keep ’em frozen for a refreshing treat. Other good options: Smoothies, frozen yogurt, or Jell-O with fruit chunks. “They provide the perfect mix of carbs and fluid and they’re easily digestible in the summer heat,” explains Bonci. If you’ve lost a lot of salt (hint: your clothes have white sweat stains after a workout), replace sodium by drinking V8 or a sports drink.
Note that it’s important to listen to your body. Feeling light headed, dizzy, or weak or if you incur muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, headache or tightness in the chest, are all stop signs especially if you’re not used to exercising in warm weather. Everyone should take it easy in extremely high temperatures and everyone should understand how to exercise safely and effectively at the height of the season. So enjoy that cool drink after your summer workout, you’ve earned it!
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