Summer Exercise

By: proctor - August 30, 2009
The heat index is rising which means your motivation may be falling. It is challenging to hop up and get active during the hottest days, especially when you are sweating before you even start your workout. However, your energy is going to drop even further if you skip your summer workouts. The heat makes us slow down to stay cool, and a slower pace means a sluggish feeling; this lethargic feeling will be compounded if you turn into a couch potato and don't get your blood flowing. So, instead of wishing the cooler weather would hurry up and get here, then wishing it were still summer once the cold weather does arrive, adjust your workout and love your newfound energy.

The trick is to take advantage of cooler times and cooling activities. Set your alarm for 6 am and get to the gym or do your outdoors workout before the sun is overhead. You can take a nap during the hottest part of the day if you get sleepy. If your schedule doesn't allow for a 6 am rise-n-shine, then workout at sunset once the heat of the day has passed. Just be aware that exercising late in the day can push back the time when you are able to fall asleep.

For your workout, pick cooler activities like swimming or doing yardwork (run through the sprinkler or duck your head under the hose to dampen your clothes and hair--water helps your body to get rid of excess heat, which is why sweating with a cool breeze blowing feels so good). If your workout-of-choice is a bike ride, fill up your water bottle with ice cubes to help cool you faster. Have kids? Join them in a sprinkler dash or encourage a friendly game of catch with water balloons.

There is a lot you can wear to make summer exercise more comfy. Wicking, technical clothes will stay drier and not weigh you down like cotton clothes can. If you don't have technical wear, then you can cut holes in the front and back of an old t-shirt to allow air to get to your skin and cool you off. Maybe you can even bring that style back from the '80s, at least in your neighborhood! Splash your head and neck with water during your workout if possible. Another cooling method is to put a wet bandana in your freezer (round it into the shape of your neck beforehand) for 30 minutes then wrap it around your neck before heading outside. It will help cool you off and double as a sunshield. You can wrap it around your forehead towards the end of your workout to keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes. Remember to protect your skin from burning; apply waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside so that it has a chance to dry. Wear a hat (with mesh sides if possible to allow for air flow) or a visor if you don't want sunscreen on your face (since sweating can make it drip into your eyes). Lastly, grab your shades; wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes from UV damage but can also help prevent a headache because you won't be squinting due to the bright sunlight.

Post-workout, you should bring your heart rate down gradually by walking and then stretching, even though it's tempting to flop down into the grass the second you finish exercising. Reward yourself with a frozen fruit popsicle. To make one, just throw some strawberries, watermelon or whatever you have available into your blender, then put the blended fruit in a paper cup in the freezer for a couple of hours before your workout. When the popsicle is frozen, just tear off the top of the cup and lick to your heart's content! Follow it with a cold shower for the ultimate refreshment. That's a workout—and a feeling of accomplishment for your non-lazy approach to your day—a nutritious snack, a surge of refreshment from a cold shower, and a boost of energy from exercising all in one. Take that, heat!

About the Submitter


I have been an ACE certified personal trainer since 2000 who has trained over 3000 hours. I specialize in pre- and post-natal fitness, stretching, running, and weight loss. Yoga is also a passion for me and a way of life. I received my Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification in India and love to share the calmness, strength, and openness that yoga offers to people of all ages and abilities.

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