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Shift Your Workout Into Summer Mode
Ah, summertime. The days are longer, the temps are balmier, and – let’s be honest! – obstacles to your workout routine abound. However, with mindfulness and some simple planning, it’s very possible to make summer work for your workout. Read on for some key tips to keeping the regimen on track as things heat up – and don’t forget the sweat-proof sunscreen!
Take a cold shower. Before you work out, focus on adjusting your body temperature to counteract the high outdoor temperature. A cold shower is a quick way to lower your heart rate and cool down your body, which will help you perform better in the heat. If you’re not up for the shock, laying an ice pack over the back of your neck will also help.
Essential oils are your friend – specifically, eucalyptus and peppermint. Rub a small amount of either onto your temples and at the back of your neck, and you’ll actually feel a cooling sensation. Added bonus: These particular scents will help clear your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe in heavy heat.
Ease into the heat. If you go hard right out of the gates, the heat will quickly cripple your energy levels. Instead, start your workout slow – limit exertion to just a few minutes at a time – and let your body get used to the elevated temps before pushing harder. You’ll know you’re ready to increase your exertion levels once your sweat thins out into a more watery consistency.
Know your humidity levels – and get familiar with the National Weather Service’s Heat Index chart, designed specifically to measure the risk level of exertion in hot humidity. For example, if it’s 90 degrees out but 50% humidity, the heat stress is equivalent to 95 degrees, which makes a difference when you’re pushing yourself. Rule of thumb: If the heat index is above 90 degrees, it’s best to exercise indoors – or hold off until when it cools down later in the day.
Water, water, everywhere. It’s summer – submerge your workout! Whether it’s a pool or a lake, exercising in the water is a refreshing approach to aerobic fitness with no shortage of results. If you have access to a pool, try swimming freestyle laps for 20 to 40 minutes (and resting is okay) to help improve your cardio and cholesterol levels. Or kick it up a notch, closing your hands into fists as you swim. And don’t underestimate the simple act of treading water. Here, Intervals are the most effect approach: For 30 seconds at a time, tread as hard as you can, then rest by floating on your back for another 30 seconds. Doing 30 of these treading intervals is a great way to engage your full body – and on a hot day, nothing feels better than a good swim.