The summer months are a great time to take a step back and reassess your fitness plan. With the changing seasons, you can examine what you’ve been doing with your workouts and diet to determine if they are in line with your goals – whether it’s to lose weight, complete a marathon or gain better endurance – and what changes you need to make.
Another excellent part of summer is that it gives most of us a chance to bring our workouts outdoors. Spending too much time doing the same sort of routine or program can cause exercise boredom and plateauing. To overcome these challenges and continue to see results, you need to constantly challenge your body. Since you’ve likely spent most of the cold weather months cooped up indoors using various workout equipment, now is a prime opportunity to head outside, soak up some much needed vitamin D and reinvigorate your workouts.
While it can be a fun challenge to exercise outdoors, it’s important to keep in mind that the heat can be dangerous. Extra sweating and high temperatures increase the risk for heat exhaustion, sunstroke and other heat-related issues. Because of this, it’s important to keep in mind these tips to stay cool during summer workouts:
- Drink water throughout the day: It’s always important to stay hydrated throughout a workout, but when it’s hot outside, continuously sipping water or a sports drink during a exercise only isn’t enough. In the summer, be sure to stay hydrated all day long, which can help prevent symptoms of exercising in the heat such as headaches, stomach cramps and dizziness. During the session, be sure to replenish your fluids every 15 minutes or so.
- Wear sunscreen: It’s important to wear SPF whenever you go outside, and this includes during exercise. Invest in a sunscreen that won’t wash off with sweat and be sure to apply it before every outdoor session to avoid the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
- Plan for an early workout: The heat isn’t as bad earlier in the morning as it is during mid-day, so if it’s going to be especially hot out, it’s best to get your workout in as early as possible in the morning. As a bonus, your exercise will be done for the day and it will give you a boost of energy to get through work!
- Dress appropriately: Dark, heavy fabrics soak up more heat and absorb the sunlight, so it’s best to wear lightweight, light-colored fabrics when working out in the heat. Some fitness clothes are even designed with moisture-wicking, which will help you feel cooler. It’s also best to opt for shorts and T-shirts instead of long pants and long-sleeved tops, and you may want to wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face as well.
- Have a backup plan: While you may prefer to spend as much time outdoors in the summer as possible, sometimes the temperatures and humidity levels are just too high. When this is the case, it can be dangerous to exercise outside at all, so have a backup plan ready. On these days, take your session back indoors and engage in something new such as yoga or Pilates, which are great for cross-training.
- Take your time: It’s an adjustment to move from indoors to outdoors and from room temperatures to hot temperatures, so give your body a chance to adjust. Start slowly when you begin outside workouts and increase time and intensity gradually. One your body is accustomed to the changes, you can push yourself, but be sure to recognize if you’re exercising too intensely, which can be signaled by nausea, lightheadedness, confusion and dizziness. If this happens, come inside to somewhere cool to calm your body down.
When you change up your fitness routine and start to really challenge yourself, there’s a chance you’ll experience sore muscles. Luckily, massage is a great way to soothe this conditions and it also helps with athletic recovery for those who are in training for a race or competition. Using a portable massager allows you to work out knots and kinks whenever you need to, and it’s a cost-efficient method that can be used during a cool-down or whenever it’s needed.