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Exercise In This HOT Weather? You Bet, Just Be Careful!

Training In Heat TipsIn Victoria we're used to having awesome weather.  In fact, we can be smug about it and will often take almost any opportunity we get to share pictures of our good fortune with the less fortunate suffering through yet another snowstorm or thunder shower anywhere east of the ocean around our Island.  But, lately, we've been experiencing slightly more than our normal amount of beautiful, hot sunny days.  In fact, we've even been shattering records that have been around for over 100 years!  It's not that we don't LOVE it, but it can cause some concern for those not used to exercising outside in the heat this early in the year.  So, with that in mind, we'd like to offer some hints, tips and advice to keep you safe and healthy during your outdoor exercise.

But, these aren't just for early spring warm workouts, they apply to ANY hot weather workout periods.  For most of us, these are just "common sense", but it's never a bad thing to be reminded of something that will keep us happy and healthy.   When the temperature's high, your motivation to exercise can be low.  And, you may think you can use the excuse that exerting yourself just might be dangerous too!   Sorry, but that won't cut it.  You can still walk, jog, bike or join a boot camp class without suffering sunstroke.  Just remember to take these precautions:

  1. STAY HYDRATED! Drink up. Lots!  My clients hear this ALL the time.  They know that exercising in hot weather increases our body temperature and, once you start craving water you're already slightly dehydrated.  So, to avoid that, make sure you drink 2 - 3 cups before you plan to work out and have a bottle to sip from during your workout.  For greater benefit, add some fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) juice or coconut water to your drink.  If you're exercising for about 30 minutes, at a moderate intensity, then water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated.  However, if your workouts are for a longer period, such as 60 minutes or more, or is done at a more extreme intensity, or on a very hot day or at your full exertion level, that you'll probably be better with something more than water to replenish your body's electrolytes.
  2. PICK THE RIGHT LIQUID. Your cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells. Things like water and blood pH depend on your body's proper electrolyte balance, and you can suffer severe medical problems if your electrolytes fall out of balance.  By now, everyone knows that the over-the-counter sports drinks are usually anything but low calorie.  So, while you're working hard to burn off some excess calories, I don't want you sabotaging yourself by slurping down extra calories and, usually, High Fructose Corn Syrup (which has been linked to the obesity epidemic).  So, avoid those store bought sports drinks, they'll do you more harm than good.  I recommend making your own sports drink.  For a great sports drink, that's easy to make, check out this recipe on our website.
  3. AVOID THE HOTTEST PART OF THE DAY. The sun, humidity and pollution levels are most intense during the midday.  So, to minimize the effects of the heat, plan your exercise for either first thing in the morning, or in the later evening.  And, pick your spots.  Exercising in shady areas, such as the tree-lined trails and parks we use for our outdoor boot camp classes, will also help you stay cooler when the temperature rises.
  4. SPORT THE RIGHT OUTFIT. Wear light coloured, lightweight clothing.  Wearing tops that are made from the "wicking" material that takes away moisture is great.  Avoid wearing clothing that soaks up sweat but doesn't allow it to evaporate.  And, don't forget your head, wear a lightweight hat to protect the top of your head and your face.
  5. WEAR SUNSCREEN! Remember that Baz Luhrman song about advice to a graduating class and he reminded them to "Wear sunscreen!"?  Well, he was right.  Although enjoying time in the sun is great for getting some of the vitamin D your body needs, you also need to protect your skin from the more intense rays of the sun.  So, wear sunscreen.  Nothing less than an SPF 30.  And, if you're outside for an extended period of time, remember to reapply it often.
  6. EAT SNACKS. A healthy snack will help you to maintain your energy level.  But, make sure you  pick a juicy snack (like fruit). The last thing you need in a heat wave are dry snacks (chips, crackers, popcorn, etc.) or energy bars that require your body to add water.  Plus, those dry snacks are quite often calories dense, which means that (if your aim is to lose a bit of weight) they can easily sabotage your health and fitness goals.

Remember, it IS okay to exercise outside during our great sunny weather.  Even throughout the hottest days of summer.  All it takes to do it right is a commitment to follow a few simple, common-sense, precautions.  Join an Alter Ego Fitness Experience boot camp class and we'll help you stay fit and healthy while you get some fresh air and exercise!  We play outside all the time!

LoreliLoreli's company, Alter Ego Fitness Experience, offers Personal Training, Group Fitness (boot camp) and YogaFit training options.  Her passion for overall health and wellness, and her innate ability to sense a client’s personal struggles, enables her to assist them to get to their next level and to, ultimately, find their “alter ego”!

"Overall health and fitness is a journey, not a destination!"

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