4 Tips to Eliminate Your Summer Workout Worries
Every winter women start the epic journey back into “swimsuit season,” a time when the off-season’s exercise and cookie digressions come out for all to see. But instead of focusing on the mad dash to a whittled waistline, you can stay healthy and fit throughout the summer by learning how to take advantage of the season’s best elements while fending off the worst.
The first step to summer fitness is to get out of – not into – the gym. “Change up your routine,” recommends Virtua sports medicine primary care specialist Jennifer Naticchia, MD. “Swimming and water aerobics are in season for the summer and will keep you cool. Walking, biking, and running on the beach or boardwalk is also nice for a change of scenery.” Dr. Naticchia also points to outdoor yoga, Zumba and aerobics classes as a great way to get outside and get moving.
Summer’s elements of sun, heat, and pests don’t always need to keep you indoors. “Early morning or after sunset are the best times to work out. It’s cooler and you avoid the time when the sun is hottest,” Dr. Naticchia reminds us, adding that it’s important to know when to say when. “Often patients will tell me they like to work out when the temperatures are extreme as they get a better workout, but this isn’t safe. When there’s a heat advisory, think about hitting an air-conditioned gym for your workout or heading to a mall to walk.”
Plenty of water, sunblock and the right protective gear can make all the difference between a good outdoor workout and a bad time. These tips should help…
“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” says Dr. Naticchia, noting that by the time you feel thirsty you’re already 2 percent dehydrated “Water and electrolyte replacement drinks are the best. If they’re colder, they’re absorbed easier and will cool you off quickly.” If you’re not sure if you’re hydrated enough, your urine will tell you. It should be clear to pale yellow, but no darker than the color of lemonade. If it’s darker, you need to drink more fluids.
Before your outdoor workout, apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or SPF 30 to 50 for even greater protection. Dr. Naticchia notes that you need to reapply even sweatproof and waterproof sunblocks often. And, look for clothing that provides SPF – often available at a sporting goods store – as cotton shirts offer little sun protection.
If you like the feel of sand between your toes in the summer, it’s okay to do some barefoot running on the beach. However, Dr. Naticchia advises running in a good supportive sneaker that gives you arch support while protecting your feet from glass, sharp shells, and other potential beach shrapnel.
Finally, if the prospect of giant, itchy bug bites has you staying couch-bound, use insect repellant sprays, creams, candles, and even bracelets to help keep the bugs at bay. Whatever your outdoor nemesis may be, you can equip yourself and make the most of summer – before winter’s here again.