Want to feel strong and energetic despite the hot, humid weather? Kathleen Alleaume tells how to stay cool and fit this summer.
The days may be hotter, but they’re also longer, giving you more opportunities to get your heart pumping and feel full of life. Here are some great ways to stick to your fitness routine—even if your clothes are sticking to you!
Just add water
This one’s a no-brainer: a wet workout is an instant cool down. Water provides up to 15 times more resistance than air does, so your body has to work a little harder to complete exercise moves. As a result, you’ll tone muscles, improve flexibility and boost cardiovascular fitness—yet barely feel like you’re breaking a sweat. Swimming, for instance, offers a total-body workout, and it’s a low-impact activity that’s easy on your joints. Dive into it!
Take exercise indoors
Air-conditioned gyms are a convenient way to sidestep humidity and stay active. Most health and fitness centres offer a wide range of activities that can improve your flexibility, mobility, posture and strength, and many provide classes for relaxation techniques, too. Try to join a gym with a pool and an aqua-aerobics program. A three-month membership will see you through summer without emptying your wallet.
Walk the mall
Got a passion for fashion? Why not indulge it while you get fit? Many US retail corporations hire fitness instructors to walk people through their shopping centres, and the trend seems to be catching on here. Mall walking combines an early-morning power-walk around a maze of stores, climbing stairs and escalators, with a spot of window shopping. Find out if your nearest shopping complex has a walking program—you may even spot a motivating outfit or two…
Salute the sun
Summer’s gorgeous weather makes it easier to embrace the day a little earlier—and morning exercise offers multiple benefits. You not only avoid the hottest time of day, but also boost your metabolism, improve mental alertness and sleep better at night. Need another reason not to hit the snooze button? An active morning puts your fitness first, so you don’t have to worry about work, kids or other family members’ agendas derailing your workout plans. Wake up your body with a brisk walk around the block, or develop a bedside routine of push-ups, lunges, sit-ups and gentle stretches—and power through the day!
Save your skin
Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you head outdoors, and protect your eyes with sunglasses that block damaging ultraviolet sunrays.
Dress for the weather
Wear loose-fitting clothes to let air circulate between the fabric and the environment, and across your skin. Remember that light-coloured clothing reflects sunlight, whereas darker clothing absorbs heat.
Work out at home
If you can’t get to the gym, set up a mini gym in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need lots of space or equipment to do strength exercises such as star jumps, push-ups, lunges, planks, squats or on-the-spot jogging. Cooling bonus: Crank up the fan or air conditioning, and alternate these exercises while you watch television.
Rehydrate before you start feeling parched. As always, water is the best thirst quencher.