Exercising in Summer

Exercising in Summer for weight loss

Summer can be a wonderful time to lose weight. Our appetites can reduce during the warmer months of the year and some of us start enjoying healthy diets and generally being more active.

But the Australian sun can be very harsh and whether you're a seasoned exercise veteran or a novice thinking about starting to exercise, if you're not careful, the combination of excessive heat and exercise could turn your workout into a medical nightmare.

Excess heat plus intense Exercise.

When we exert ourselves, muscle activity leads to an increase in our body temperature. In order to keep our core temperature stable, we sweat. But our body's ability to cool itself can be overwhelmed by extreme weather conditions combined with intense exercise.

That can lead to dehydration, which can cause muscle cramps, fatigue, headache, light-headedness, confusion and lethargy. Ignoring those warning signs can lead to heat exhaustion, putting you at risk for coma, cardiac arrhythmia, even death.

25 Summer Exercise Tips.

If you want to exercise on hotter days, follow these tips to make the experience as enjoyable and safe as possible:

  1. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

  2. Don't adopt the "no pain, no gain" motto. Ignoring your body's signals could be dangerous. Heat-related illnesses come with warning signs. Know what they are and don't ignore them.

  3. Be aware of some of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness (heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, and fainting) and if you experience any stop exercising immediately, go to a cool spot and re-hydrate yourself as quickly as possible.

  4. Talk with your doctor about any medications you are taking, prescription and over-the-counter, and how they may interfere with you body's ability to regulate temperature.

  5. If you have some history of heat-related illness, consult your physician about appropriate exercise or physical activity during the summer.

  6. If you're exercising or playing a sport for an hour or more, make sure you take breaks and consider drinking a sports drink with minerals and electrolytes added.

  7. Protect yourself from the burning affects of the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and high SPF, oil-free, water-proof sunscreen. Be sure to apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.

  8. If possible, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day ( 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ). The best times to exercise are in the early morning or evening.

  9. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-coloured cloths. Natural fibres like cotton are best because they absorb sweat. Sweaty clothes may not be the most comfortable, but they sure help keep your temperature down. If you change clothes frequently or towel-dry your skin, you are defeating the purpose of sweating in the first place.

  10. Limit total workout times and intensity during hot, humid days.

  11. Acclimatize yourself to exercising in the heat. Start with short, low-intensity workouts and increase them gradually over two weeks or more.

  12. Try to train in the shade wherever possible.

  13. Workout indoors. Exercising in an air-conditioned house, apartment or gym can provide you with total protection from the heat. An exercise bike, treadmill, or a simple set of dumbbells can provide you with the tools to exercise at home.

  14. Train at the coolest places. Wherever you live, there are sure to be spots where joggers and walkers congregate because it's cool. It may be a coastal walking track or just a shady path in the local park.

  15. Have a water workout. Find a local pool and switch to swimming as your aerobic workout, or do water aerobics in the backyard pool. Don't forget to drink plenty of water when swimming. Just because your body is surrounded by the stuff doesn't mean that you are well-hydrated. As with any land exercise, you need to regularly replenish lost fluids when exercising in the pool.

  16. Spray water on your exposed skin to keep cool.

  17. Keep your face and neck clear. If you have long hair, pull it back and up. Remove all jewellery and any make up that interferes with your skin breathing and perspiring naturally.

  18. Avoid alcohol before, during, and immediately after you exercise. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes you to lose fluids.

  19. Avoid extreme changes in temperature. Don't jump from being extremely hot and sweaty into an ice cold, air-conditioned environment. Try to cool your body down slightly before exposing it to dramatic temperature change.

  20. Cool down with some simple stretches. You may be hot and tired after your workout, but don't neglect this important part of your exercise regimen. Stretching for a few minutes will help cool you down and relax your muscles.

  21. Don't try to encourage sweating as a way to shed kilos. Excessive perspiration is not the key to permanent weight loss. Any decrease in the scale would simply be a result of water loss, not fat reduction.

  22. Eat regularly. Heat can decrease your appetite, but it's important to eat normally. Try to eat small meals 5-6 times per day. Include lots of fruits and vegetables. Aside from being nutritious, fruits also tend to help with hydration.

  23. Test yourself and the environment first. Start your workout with the attitude that you are just going to get started to see "how you feel". If you feel good, keep going, if you don't stop and go do something else instead.

  24. Check the weather forecast first. Weather forecasters can be very useful when it comes to warning you about the hazardous mix of heat and humidity in the atmosphere (when they get their predictions right!).

  25. Know when to call it a day. If you can't bring the workout indoors or find a cool place, consider the day a rest day and take it off.

Summer is a great time to get back into shape and lose some valuable kilos. But it can also be a very dangerous time to push yourself too hard or try something new on extremely hot and humid days.

By keeping in mind the tips listed above, you can make sure that you get the most out of your summer exercise routine while staying safe on the road to becoming a happier, healthier you.

Swim anyone?

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This article was written by Scott Haywood.

Scott Haywood is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.

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