For many, the summer months signify a time of carefree living: summer vacations, staying up late, late night drives and hours spent in front of favorite television programs. Unfortunately, for some others, this extra dose of freedom can also mean falling back out of shape.
If you are the other type ie. if you are someone who regularly workouts at a gym or exercises with a group or at home, you may find it more difficult to keep up your activity level during the summer months. And, who can blame you?
Ever wonder why it’s so hard to keep exercising in the heat? Instead of blood going to the muscles, the body diverts it to the skin instead to keep it cool. As a result, it becomes harder and harder to exercise during the summer.
Either ways, you can continue to stay fit, have fun and look great in your summer clothes, if you follow some basic rules. It is important to take precautions when working out during the summer. Things like staying hydrated, applying sunscreen, and wearing light clothing become more important.
NOTE: If for any reason you feel like you are getting faint, or your body temperature is rising too fast during your workout, stop. If you have trouble regularly, consult your doctor.
Here’s how to stay fit and in shape during those hot summer months.
- Exercise Regularly but Time it properly: You must be aware that working out three to four times per week is a
great way to have increased energy levels and feel good and fit.
What would be a better time to start going for a morning walk, than in summers – when there is no rush to pack the children off to school. The day breaks early to pleasant mornings, just the right time for you to get outdoors and get your morning dose of exercise. Even better, get your children to play in the park while you do your workout.
- Take Your Exercise Indoors, when the Sun is strongest : It’s great to take your workout outdoors, but when the temperature gets a bit too high, the easiest way to avoid the heat is to stay inside altogether. Synonymous with air conditioning, gyms provide a good way to skip the heat. But Gyms become overly packed in the summer for this reason.
You may try simple things like climbing the staircase up and down a few times or enjoy playing simulation games on a gaming console Like Wii which require you to play with physical movements, games like tennis, boxing or even squash. A match with your child will make it so much fun for both of you. Do ensure that this remain a time-bound activity else the screen time will outweigh the exercise advantage.
- Do not completely shun Outdoor: Summer sun means staying indoors to stay cool. But that can play havoc on your pre-set fitness regime. To help avoid completely abandoning your fitness routine, try to add in some outdoor activities that truly are fun while also providing calorie burning benefits and overall fitness benefits.
Some sports become more popular in the summer as a way to stay cool. If you’re near a body of water, water sports like swimming, diving and surfing allow you to stay cool under water’s refreshing and cooling properties while still keeping you outdoors.
- Add Variety – Pick Up a New Sport : “As well as the obvious physical benefits, learning a new skill has great mental benefits too”, says Mrs Snehlata, a Low back pain patient who took up Aqua Aerobics to maintain her back muscles after completing the ReLiva LBP programme. “Exercising in water was so much fun specially during the summer heat”, she adds.
Below is a list of some fun activities you can try out as a beginner or improve your skills on if you are already familiar with them.
– Water workouts/ Swimming : You get to stay cool while being active. Even beginners who can’t “officially” swim strokes, can perform water activities that keep them fit.
Even if you don’t know how to swim, consider signing up for a swim class at one of your local pools or instead try out some alternative water workouts that don’t require swimming skills.
– Frisbee : Frisbee is a non-contact team sport that mixes workout-advantages of basketball, and football. The rules are simple for beginners to quickly learn it.
It offers the advantage to burn calories and stay fit while having fun with others. It allows you to use some of your competitive juices and also offers the added benefit of connecting with people, may be kids/family in the game.
– Cycling : All you need is a bike. You can cycle mostly anywhere. It is an appropriate activity for beginners and you can
continually advance with your workout. It’s a low impact workout. For extra motivation to keep you interested in sticking with the workouts, try signing up for a friendly race. Cycling is in fact a great work out for Marathon training as well. Training for them all summer long is a great way to stay in shape.
- Drink Up to Keep Your Body Correctly Hydrated : Hydration is key to staying healthy; after all, the brain is made up of around 70% water. Proper hydration is crucial to a healthy exercise regimen, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Drinking the right amount of water before physical activity allows your body to perform properly while preventing dehydration, overhydration, injuries and heat illness.
While there’s no specific amount of water that works for everyone, pale or clear urine and a lack of thirst are two signs you’re drinking enough. “The key is to keep your water bottle within easy reach, so you reach out to it naturally everytime your body needs it and you stay hydrated,” says Dr Neelam Patel, certified Sports Physiotherapist and fitness trainer at ReLiva.
Ideally, you should start drinking water or other liquids at least 15 minutes before exercising. For every 20 minutes spent working out, a glass of water should be consumed.
The summer is one of the best times to get fit and stay healthy as a family. Take advantage of the big summer months to resolve to be active, eat healthy and take care of yourself and your fitness.
Share your stories about exercise in summers with friends and introduce them to your new passion. How do you beat the heat and maintain that flaunt body for the summer? If you’ve got any tips to cool down, sound off in the comments below.
Contributed by Vaishali Gupta, an avid reader, writer and painter by hobby and an award winning Media Marketer by profession. She has keen interest in staying fit and keeps active despite a slipped disc.