Summer heat can challenge even the most committed among us when it comes to staying active and getting the exercise we need. While air-conditioned gyms and yoga studios enable many to steer clear of the weather, some of us still prefer the outdoors for our exercise. Not only is exercising outdoors free-of-charge, but the sight of green life growing vibrantly, the sounds of birds raising their young, and the fresh, moist air are what calm my mind and soothe my soul. Exercising in the heat is not only absolutely doable, but can feel absolutly wonderful, even for the fitness-challenged and heat-intolerant among us, even for those of us living in hot, steamy Florida. Following are some ways to make the most of the summer heat while maintaining a physically active lifestyle that includes the outdoors.
1) Try to time your outdoors exercise before sunrise or after sunset.
2) Wet your t-shirt or hair before you head out, or wear a wet head scarf or one of those cooling neck wraps.
3) Take your fitness routine to the water, be it a pool, lake, river or the ocean. Swimming, walking or just moving in water is a fabulous way to stay fit while keeping cool.
4) Slow your pace – the important thing is that you get moving. If you move at a run in the cooler months, consider slowing down to a jog in summer. If you jog in the cold months, walk in the summer at whatever pace feels right for you. Or alternate your pace as needed.
5) Ride a bike – the breeze you get from biking will almost have you thinking it’s not so hot afterall. The trick is to pick a route where you can keep moving, because it’s when you stop that you’ll feel the heat build.
6) Depending on your activity, be sure to eat an hour-or-so before exercising, so that your body has the energy it needs to circulate that oxygen to those muscles that keep you moving.
7) Drink ice-cold water before, during, and after exercising. I can’t run with a belly full of water, but I take an icy sip before heading out and follow-up with an ice-cold glass of water when I return home. You can also carry water and take sip-breaks along the way.
8) Dress comfortably in loose and breathable clothing. While tight, moisture-wicking exercise clothes are in high-fashion, sweat is our body’s cooling system, aided by the movement of air over our moist skin. Take advantage of it.
9) Follow-up with a cold shower. You’ll feel revived and invigorated.