|a strategically placed bubble so you can't see my belly.=)|
My exercises of choice are swimming and running and walking and biking. But as the heat index rises, my desire to exercise correspondingly lowers. I sweat buckets just thinking about running in 85 degrees and more. And if you think it is harder to work out in the heat, you have scientific research to back up your stance. Instead of your blood flowing to your muscles allowing them to work efficiently, it is being diverted to your skin to keep you cool. Thus you are working harder-much harder.
But we all don't want to just tuck it in the whole summer. We don't want to blimp out or become flabby. So, how can we keep to a fitness routine in the heat?
1. Exercise early or late. The window of time from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. is when the sun is the hottest. This would not be the time to be exercising. Do your exercise before or after. I like mornings because I feel like it starts my day off on the right foot, and then it is done. But, mornings tend to be more humid. Evenings, though actually warmer, can feeler cooler, because the humidity is lower. If you suffer from allergy issues, they say evening is a better time for you to be outside.
2. Hydrate. Here is the rule of thumb...8 ounces of water should be consumed for every 20 minutes of exercising. This is in addition to whatever other water you drink through out the day normally. If it is particularly hot out, sports drinks with electrolytes, can and should be substituted for some of this water intake.
3. Wear white or light colored tops. Your black shirt may make you look fantastic, but it also attracts the sun. Moisture wicking fabric is lightweight and helps keep you cool.
4. As the temps rise, have a back up plan. If you are a runner-run on the treadmill indoors. If you like to walk, take it to the mall. Swimming is a great alternate summer activity. It cools you down, and is the best all around fitness option. It is great for stretching muscles, taking pressure off joints, and building lung capacity. Biking is my new favorite-you create your own breeze. It's amazing.
5. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. They are good for you, and they contain water. Win-win.
6. Know when enough is enough. It is better to shorten your workout and still have energy, than to overdue it, and have heat exhaustion. If you are experiencing weakness, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, rapid heart beat, nausea or vomiting-stop immediately. (I experience weakness, muscle cramps and rapid heart beat almost every time. Just sayin'.)
7. Have a support network. Walk with your family or a friend. Ask someone to keep you accountable. Blog or tweet about your goals and how you are doing at them. I currently belong to a fitness accountability group on FB. Join a group or start your own.
8. Have fun. Summer is about having fun. Fitness and exercise are hard work, but if you aren't somewhat enjoying yourself, you won't keep at it.
9. Set goals. I am almost always signed up for a race, and am technically "in training." This keeps me on track.
10. Just.do.it. Get up. Get dressed. Go. Now. Not later. Not tomorrow. Make it today.
What do tips do you have to keep motivated in the summer heat? Share your tips with the rest of us in the comments.