Regular exercise is a crucial element for overall health and wellness. It’s important to get any kind of physical activity most days, regardless of external factors that may keep you from doing so.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Some days you just can’t find the motivation to get up and get moving. It is especially difficult during the summer—given the punishing heat outdoors, it can feel like an easy choice to just forego exercise for days or weeks at a time.
You shouldn’t let hot weather stop you from maintaining your workout schedule. Fortunately, there are many ways to stay active and care for your body even when the ambient temperature is at its peak.
Here are some simple tips to keep cool and get fit during summer:
1. Choose the Right Time to Work Out
Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day if you don’t want to suffer from heatstroke. Working out significantly increases your body temperature, and doing it in the heat will put unnecessary stress on your body.
Peak temperatures usually occur between 11 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Shift your workout schedule to make it easier on yourself and your sweat glands. A brisk walk or jog first thing in the morning is a great way to boost your energy throughout the day. Or you can opt for an evening yoga session to wind down after a long day.
It’s easy to work around the heat and stay fit during summer vacation as long as you make exercise a priority!
2. Know Your Fitness Level
If you are not used to working out in the heat or haven’t worked out in a while, go low and slow. Start with light exercises, and don’t try to push your body to do too much. You can increase intensity as you become acclimated to the heat and humidity.
As with any workout session, make sure you complete a slow warm-up before you begin working out and close with a cool-down as you finish. When exercising in hot weather, remember that your body needs a bit more time to adjust from being inactive to active and vice versa.
A 10 to 15-minute warm-up and cool-down at the beginning and end of your workout will ensure healthy blood flow as you slowly increase and then decrease muscle activity. These simple habits will ensure you won’t experience muscle cramps and strain.
3. Eat Snacks to Maintain Energy
To lose weight, gain muscle, or just maintain good overall health, your diet is just as important as your exercise habits. After all, exercising burns off a ton of energy, especially on hot days. Having a rich source of energy—the food you eat every day—will help you keep up with exercise in summer heat.
Avoid food that’s too dry, such as biscuits and cookies, as they will suck up the hydration in your body.
What to eat before working out in the heat? It’s best to choose hydrating foods during the summer. Some excellent foods include fruits containing tons of water (melons, strawberries, peaches, pineapples, etc.), nuts and seeds, and starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes or carrots.
Avocado or olive oil are also excellent options for a quick but perfectly healthy source of fat.
4. Drink Lots of Water, Even if You Don’t Feel Thirsty
Staying fit during summer is essential, but you must do so without risking your health. Exercising in the heat leads to high body temperatures, and drinking enough water will help your body avoid overheating and dehydration.
Hydrate before, during, and after any physical activity. Don't wait until you're thirsty—thirst is a sign that you’re well on your way to being dehydrated.
Experts suggest drinking 2 to 3 liters of water daily, depending on gender and physical activity. Exercise on hot days leads to a lot of fluid loss, so you must make up for it by drinking or sipping at least one cup of water every 20 minutes during your workout and another cup right after.
5. Take It Indoors if You Need To
If it’s too hot outside to exercise, you can work out at home or at a gym. Even taking a stroll inside a mall or museum is better than walking under the sun's harsh heat.
Another great way to keep fit indoors is swimming at an indoor pool. Swimming is a simple activity that burns many calories. You can swim laps or do other swimming exercises like treading water or using a kickboard.
6. Wear Proper Clothing
Dress for summer exercise to avoid overheating. This means loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Dark colors absorb heat and sweat, leading to discomfort and dehydration.
Choose breathable fabrics like cotton, and avoid polyester, as it traps heat.
If you’re exercising outdoors, wear a hat to protect your head, sunglasses to protect your eyes, and put on 50 SPF sunscreen on all exposed body parts.
7. Cool Down After Your Workout
Cool off and wash away sweat with a shower or bath after your summer workout. Showers are especially beneficial as the strong jets of water will massage your overworked muscles and beat away lactic acid buildup.
Cooling down will boost muscle recovery; more importantly, it feels great!
You’re all set if you follow these simple tips—you now know how to stay fit during summer and enjoy your new, heat-proof workout routine.
If you want more inspiration, check out our previous blog posts to boost your health and wellness!