Summer is coming, full speed ahead! That means it's going to be hot -- waaaay too hot to exercise, right? Sadly, that may be the convenient answer, but it's important to stay active no matter what the weather! In fact, there may be some added bonuses with exercising in hotter temperatures. But you have to be careful so as not to overheat yourself in the process. Here are some tips on staying active while beating the heat!
First and foremost, always consult your doctor before adding/changing any strenuous physical activities to your life, especially when outside temperatures are in play. Yes, being active is good, but you should take care of yourself too! Finding low-resistance, or 'easy' workouts will be your best friend in the heat.
Before really diving in, by far the most important thing to know about exercising in the heat, is Hydration. Water, water, water! Some people do not drink enough water. If it's hot out, and you're dehydrated that's a recipe for a dreadful workout and maybe a visit to the hospital if you're not careful. You should try to drink about 3 liters of water a day and if you're already a pretty active person you'll probably want to drink more than that. Also, if you are thirsty this is a sign you're already getting dehydrated. Keep that water close and sip it often in hot weather.
Another thing to note, is the time of day. Choose a time of the day when the temperatures are mild. Try scheduling your workout first thing in the morning or later in the evening once the sun is going down. The American Heart Association also has some important tips on staying active when it's hot out, regarding health and hydration!
When you're running, the heart rate spikes up, and your internal temperature rises as well. This makes for a comfortable workout in cool weather but can be less comfortable in hot weather. Consider mixing things up with a firmly-paced walk instead of a run if temperatures are high. Walking is easy, and low-resistance. The Huffington Post explains how even light activity is a great combatant to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles "A brisk walk each day for a minimum of 20 minutes could lead to considerable health benefits, according to a new study that suggests the sedentary lifestyle is responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity. "
Blood circulation is key to our bodily functions, and going for a walk is good for your brain, lungs, heart, and your butt! So get them buns moving! It doesn't even have to be fast. VeryWellFit also makes some important notes on walking, even if it's not a particularly long walk!
"Walking is a good way to turn the body on to burning stored fat. If you walk for 30 minutes or less, you are still burning calories, but they are the stored sugar calories (glycogen) rather than having to dip into the stored fat."
Perhaps the single greatest physical activity in the warmer months, is swimming. Swimming is an amazing cardiovascular exercise. It's good for building and toning muscles, alongside strengthening your entire body. BetterHealth makes a super awesome and quick claim to how great swimming is for the body.
"Swimming is a great workout because you need to move your whole body against the resistance of the water.
Swimming is a good all-round activity because it:
- keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body
- builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
- helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs
- tones muscles and builds strength
- provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming."
From shoulders, to your calves, a good swim will be a total body workout. With the water keeping you cool, you won't have to worry as much about overheating while exercising! Just don't forget your water wings. ;) Another great thing about swimming, is that due to the resistance of the water on your body, it's an excellent workout for those who have sore, or tight muscles, joints and bones or cannot tolerate high impact exercise.
Stretching. Pay close attention on this one, folks. You're probably reading this while sitting down. Granted stretching isn't really a full-on exercise but it does promote blood flow and helps loosen up the body. As we idly sit for hours, our spine, hips and shoulders get tight and by the end of the day our body is screaming for relief. By taking a few minutes to stretch every day, not only will you find your overall agility and physique improved, but you won't feel as stiff either!
Yoga and Pilates not only gives you a full body workout but the stretching and breathing involved improve blood-flow and break up various pockets of lactic acid that build up in the body.
So welcome the summer with open arms, and "salute the sun!"
***Again, always consult your doctor before adding/changing any strenuous physical activities, especially when outside temperatures are in play. By knowing the signs of dehydration and/or over-heating, you can take better precaution for your body.***