Tips for Staying Cool & Fit This Summer
1. Pre-Exercise Cool-Down. Try taking a cool shower before your workout, this can improve performance in the heat. Cooling off may reduce the amount of energy the body needs to use to stay cool, leaving more energy for the exercise itself. (Doyle, 2014).
2. Reroute. If your usual walking, running, or cycling route takes you into the blazing heat, try finding a new route that is mostly shaded and on a dirt or gravel path. Asphalt and concrete tend to radiate heat and reflect the sun's rays, which can make you feel hotter (Sklar, 2017). On really hot and humid days, choose activities to keep you cool, such as cycling in the wind or swimming in cold water.
3. Take Your Time. In the heat your body has to work harder, so slow down your pace! If you have a heart rate monitor, you can use this to find out if you’re over-exerting yourself. Another easy way to find out is the talk test - you should be able to talk somewhat easily but not sing. If you like, at your slower pace you can add in 30-second speed bursts every three to five minutes. This allows you to burn more calories without having to go full force for your entire workout. (Sklar, 2017)
4. Keep it Minty Fresh. A few drops of peppermint oil on the back of your neck and at your temples will provide a cooling effect. Inhaling or ingesting peppermint can also improve your running performance, respiratory function, blood pressure, and heart rate. Peppermint oil also opens up your nasal passages, making it easier to breathe in the humidity. One research study found that athletes who inhaled peppermint during their workout ran faster, had greater grip strength, and could do more push-ups than those who didn't. (McClung, 2013)
5. Sneak It In! If you don’t want to sacrifice fun in the sun to go to the gym, try some fun summer activities! A 150-pound woman performing the following activities for 30 minutes will burn:
- Frisbee, beach volleyball, or tennis - 272 calories
- Light cycling or swimming - 204 calories
- Mowing the lawn – 196 calories
- Kayaking - 179 calories
- Rollerblading - 168 calories
- Golf - 161 calories
- Horseback riding - 143 calories
Gardening - 136 calories
(Health Media Ventures, Inc, 2017)
6. Do Yoga. Yoga is one type of exercise where the heat works to your advantage. The heat makes your muscles pliable, and you will be able to go into poses deeper than usual if you ordinarily practice in a cool, or room temperature studio. If you’ve never tried yoga before, summer is the perfect time to start!
7. Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You should drink water all day, not just before or after your workout. If you’ve sweat a lot it might be a good idea to drink coconut water or a sports drink to replenish electrolytes. Snack on fruits such as grapes, berries and melons. Watermelon and strawberries are roughly 92% water, so they’re a satisfying way to replenish fluids and boost your energy after your workout (Busch, 2014).
Busch, S. (2014, January 09). Percentage of Water in Fruits & Vegetables. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from LIVESTRONG: http://www.livestrong.com/article/350652
Doyle, K. (2014, April 30). Health News. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/
Health Media Ventures, Inc. (2017). 17 Easy Ways to Burn Calories This Summer. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from Health: http://www.health.com
McClung, J. (2013, August 27). Research says peppermint could help athletes perform better. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from Digital Journal: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/357225
Sklar, H. L. (2017). Love Your Summer Workout: 10 Motivation Tricks. Retrieved June 09, 2017, from Fitness: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/tips/love-your-summer-workout-10-motivation-tricks/