As we head into the Dog Days of summer the heat is rising and humidity along with it. The other day my wife Laurie and I were out on a bike ride something we love to do together. It was approaching 90 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky.
Now we could have used that as an excuse not to get some exercise in, but we didn’t allow ourselves the “out’.
And let’s be honest most people would not only skip exercising on a day like that many would use that excuse for most of the summer.
While they’ll say they are going to get outside and exercise when the temps are approaching 90 and the humidity along with it the last thing most of us want to do is exercise and we use the heat as an excuse to avoid it.
But you can “beat the heat by making a few small adjustments. This will allow you to stay on track with your health during the summer months.
Here are my top 10 tips to “Beat the Heat” in the Summer.
1) Change your workout time - When it’s hazy, hot and humid it’s not a good idea to be working out at lunch time. Instead set your alarm clock a little earlier and get your workout in while the sun is rising. Or if you just can’t get up early then late evenings just before sunset may be your time
2) Take breaks - Your body can only do so much in extreme heat. As the thermometer climbs you need to take more breaks than you might normally do. And longer breaks as well. Listen to your body and when it tells you to rest DO IT! It is not a sign of weakness to take a break it’s the smart thing to do.
3) Watch Your Heart rate – As we mentioned heat places stress on the body and with it a tendency to increase your heart rate. Keep tabs on your heart rate (that’s what your Fitbit is for) and if it rises too quickly or stays high give it a rest. And if it’s much higher than normal… STOP
4) Choose the Right Clothing – While we all want to look good in summer... making a “fashion statement” can backfire big time. Wear clothing that will move sweat away from your body and allow it to evaporate quickly. “Wicking” fabrics are great… cotton… umm not so much.
5) Choose the Right Clothing Part II – Opt for White or light colored clothing to help reflect the heat. Avoid darker colors which will absorb the sun’s rays.
6) Find Some Shade- If you’re a runner, biker or swimmer (or in Laurie and I’s case all 3) try to
move your workout to a shaded area. We have a lot of walking and biking trails in our area. Choose one that has shade perhaps at a local park or riverwalk.
7) Stay Hydrated – Water, water, water before during and after your workout is key. If you’re dying of thirst it’s already too late and a sign you’re dehydrated.
8) Avoid Caffeine – While it’s all the rage right now to drink a cup of coffee before you work out (or grab and iced coffee) it may not be a good idea when working out in the summer. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks act as diuretics and force water out of your system. The exact opposite of what you want. Save the coffee for after your workout.
9) Cool Down First! - Yep you read that right. Do your cool down before you start your workout. Take a cold shower or bath, jump in the pool or put come ice cold clothes on your neck before you start your exercise. This can help lower your body temperature and improve your performance.
10) Hit the gym – When it’s super hot or if you are prone to overheating your best bet is to take your workout inside even on the sunny days of summer. Not only will it be cooler but you’ll likely have the gym to yourself. It’s a great time to focus on your form, try new things, increase your intensity and not have to worry about waiting an hour to get on a machine.
Summer especially here in the Southeast is a time to relax and unwind but it can be a trap
As I’ve mentioned before the summer months are when I see the most weight gain in people. Some of it is due to not eating properly but much of it is also due to people not exercising because of the heat.
Try incorporating a few (or all) of these tips and you’ll still be able to get your exercise in and hold off those unwanted summer pounds.