Summer’s here at Fit After Fifty! It’s easy to slack off on your exercise when it gets hot, thinking that you will pick up again when it gets cooler. We all know how hard it is to get started again, so perhaps the better strategy is not to stop at all. With a little planning you can safely exercise in the heat.
You will be tempted to imagine that your current rigorous workout is what you MUST do every day, and that you simply can’t do that in hot weather. You don’t have to dread working out just because the weather is a little warmer. You may need to do a little creative thinking to keep yourself motivated to exercise in less than ideal conditions. Meanwhile, here are some tips for handling that summer heat.
1. Exercise Early
Get an early start! Daylight first appears earlier during the summer, so take advantage of those extra super-early hours when the air is still cool. Don’t exercise in the hottest part of the day, but if you must exercise later be sure to carry a spray bottle with a little water to cool yourself.
2. Exercise Often
Wait, what? What we mean is, if you can’t handle a long workout in the heat, split up your workout into several shorter sessions. If you can only manage 10 or 15 minutes, don’t push yourself too hard. Break up your workout into two or three sessions.
3. Change It Up
Tailor your workout to the weather. Heat and humidity will sap your energy and affect your ability to work out at the level to which you have become accustomed. A five mile run in the winter may get cut down to a mile in the heat. When it is hot and humid, go swimming! Consider a bike ride to generate a little breeze. Go skating. Walk on the beach. If all else fails, play in the sprinkler with friends! Anything that gets your heart rate up for a sustained period of time qualifies as exercise.
4. Dial It Back
If you must exercise once for a longer period, slow down! Reduce the intensity of your workout so that it is commensurate with the heat. You may even want to (gasp!) take a break. Nobody is going to judge you for being sensible and taking measures to avoid heatstroke.
5. Dress Appropriately
Avoid dark colors that absorb the heat. Tight fitting clothing restricts air flow and makes you sweaty. In especially humid weather, the sweat will not evaporate, raising your body temperature further and making you more uncomfortable. Try to find loose fitting, lightweight clothing. You may even want to wear a hat. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
6. Stay Hydrated
Don’t forget that water bottle! Drink several ounces of water during your workout, about four to six ounces every 15 minutes. For that matter, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day – before and after your workout. You will avoid drinking too much water at once, which can cause upset stomach or cramping.
7. Stay Indoors
Seriously. If it is too hot, don’t risk your health! Now would be a good time to take advantage of that gym membership you have been neglecting. No gym membership? No problem! Whip out those old Jillian Michaels or PX90 DVDs, jump some rope, do some strength training, and turn up the air conditioner.
Do some experimenting and find out what makes it possible for you to exercise in the heat – safely. You’ll be so grateful you stayed motivated to exercise over the summer and don’t have to start up again in the fall!