Summer is in full swing, which means hot weather, sunshine and fun! The humidity and heat can make it hard to get motivated and stay on track with your fitness goals though. But the benefits of exercise (increased energy, improved immune system, better health) are year-round, so don’t let the heat ruin your active lifestyle. Beat the heat with these six tips:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water all day long, not just before or after your workout. You need to replenish the water you lose through sweat, and with the heat of the summer, it’s recommended that you drink more than the typical 8-10 glasses. Drink every 15 minutes or so on hot days to remain hydrated.
- Hit the pool. Swimming is a great way to stay cool while getting in a total body workout. Pick strokes to target and tone different muscles while you swim laps or take a water aerobics class. The water is great for doing low impact resistance moves, too.
- Wear Sunscreen. Though it won’t keep you cool initially, sunscreen will keep you from burning, which decreases your body’s ability to cool itself. And it helps you prevent skin cancer. Protect your skin from the sun so you can enjoy more time outdoors. Use SPF30 or higher and reapply often.
- Go early or late. Avoid working out in the heat of the day, which is typically between 10am and 6pm. Exercise before or after these times to minimize the stress of the heat on your body.
- Choose appropriate clothing. Lightweight clothing promotes ventilation. Many brands use fabrics that wick away moisture to keep you cool. Dark colors absorb heat, so think lighter color-wise, too.
- Listen to your body. Hot weather can decrease your energy level. You may need to modify your workout and intensity. Be aware of headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and nausea. These are signs of heat exhaustion. If you experience any of these symptoms, you need to stop your workout immediately, rest, hydrate and cool down.
In addition to these guidelines, I have adapted a few strategies of my own to get me through the sunny, hot summer. To stay hydrated with flavor, I started drinking coconut water. It’s naturally low in calories, fat and is cholesterol-free and contains more potassium than four bananas. It’s extremely hydrating, too. The sweet-yet-nutty taste is quite refreshing.
Another lifesaver for me is SPF clothing. I tend to burn easily and don’t always reapply sunscreen often enough. I’ve found that wearing clothing with SPF is an easy fix and a skin saver. More brands are incorporating SPF into their clothing so you can protect yourself while being active. The Katie K Signature line fabrics all have SPF protection in their fabrics, up to 50.
Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors and being active. Just keep in mind that the humidity and heat can affect your body and workout. Pay attention to your body and how you feel. But don’t let the hot temperatures and sunshine keep you from being active and achieving your fitness goals.
This article appears in the July 2014 issue of Berks County Living