Different times of year present different difficulties for working out and eating healthy In the winter there is snow, ice, cold, and fewer daylight hours. During the summer we deal with high heat, longer daylight hours, and higher risks of dehydration. Since summer is here, let’s go over some Summer Fit Tips for staying healthy and working out in summer.
I live outside of Phoenix, Arizona where daytime summer temperatures are routinely 100- 115 degrees from June through August. Overnight temperatures drop down into the 50s and 60s, but as soon as the sun comes up, temperatures quickly climb. Heading outside to workout during the hottest part of the day is just not an option. That brings me to my first tip.
Avoid the Heat
While working out at hot temperatures can arguably present benefits (saunas and Bickram Yoga are two examples), there are also very real dangers of heat related conditions like heat exhaustion, sun stroke, and dehydration.
You can reduce your risks by avoiding exercising outside during the hottest parts of the day (11 am to 4 pm). In the Arizona desert I recommend starting your workout before 8 am or after 7 pm. Keep that in mind for pets as well, test the temperature of the cement with your hand before taking your dogs out unless you have dog booties for them to wear. Their paws can and will burn.
If you are unable to workout before 8 am or after 7 pm, do your workout indoors where it is cooler. If you have a gym membership, summer is the perfect time to use it! Some community center gyms offer summer memberships. You can also do workout videos from the comfort of your living room.
Another option is to head to the mall to get in some power walking. Most malls open the halls before the stores open so that you can take advantage of the safe, air-conditioned space. Toss your kids in their stroller, power walk around, then once you get in your steps take the kids to the indoor play area to get their energy out.
Find a cooler location
Summer is the perfect time to head to the pool to workout. Look into water aerobic classes at your local community pool or gym. Most children enjoy the time to jump in the water and splash around as well.
Take a trip to the mountains for a day hike or camping trip to enjoy some cooler, fresh air. While living in Tucson, we would take a 2-hour car trip to the top of Mount Lemon at least once every summer where temperatures were 20-30 degrees cooler than in town.
Look for an ice-skating rink and enjoy open skate time. We have an ice-skating rink in walking distance of our house that offers open skate every day during the summer. It is a great way to cool off and work those core and leg muscles. If you’re in the Scottsdale, AZ area maybe try out the Ice Bar. I’ve never been but I’ve heard you can have an indoor snowball fight and enjoy drinks.
When you are hot, don’t reach for ice cream or sugar filled Popsicle to cool you down. Freeze your daily servings of fruit. Fruit freezes easily, just don’t let it thaw for more than a few minutes or it will go limp and have a funny texture. Most fruit is made mostly of water that will escape when the fruit is thawed.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, cubed watermelon, pineapple all make great tasting, sweet treats when you throw them in the freezer for a few hours.
Another option is to puree your fruit and freeze in Popsicle trays or ice cube trays. Use only fruit, no added sweeteners. You can pick any flavor combinations like watermelon strawberry, mixed berry, mango pineapple, etc.
Summer is also the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh smoothies for breakfast. Try this recipe:
- 1 cup liquid (water, milk, coconut milk, juice)
- 1 cup mixed frozen berries
- 1 handful spinach/kale
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
Blend and serve cold.
Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, dry skin, rapid heart beat, dark yellow urine, sleepiness, lack of energy, confusion and fainting. If you feel thirsty, chances are you are already dehydrated.
Make sure that you drink lots of water during the summer, more than you usually would the rest of the year. With the higher heat you will sweat more and will need to replenish. This chart has the bare minimum that you should be drinking based on your weight.
Add an extra 20-40 ounces of water each day to make sure you stay properly hydrated in the summer.
You can add extra water to your diet by eating fruits and veggies that are higher in water content (watermelon, grapes, cucumbers and tomatoes).
Add flavor to your water- either infuse with fruits and veggies and let sit in a pitcher in the fridge overnight or add a few drops of a water enhancer to your cold water. If you add a water enhancer always check the nutritional information and avoid ones that are high in sugar and calories.
Involve a group
Being active in the summer can be more fun with a group of people, not to mention safer if you are out during the hotter parts of the day. Never go running on your own during the afternoon on a day over 100 degrees because if you become overheated and disoriented you may not be able to find help. Going out in a group resolves this issue.
Children need time to be active during the summer as well. Find activities to do that can include them. Group hikes, boating, trips to the zoo, bike rides, outdoor yoga, all can be enjoyable in the summer as long as you are safe and prepared for the activities. Bring plenty of water for everyone, healthy snacks, and lots of sunscreens and get moving!
Any other important tips I missed for being active and healthy in the summer? Drop your tips in the comments below!
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