JUNE – Exercising Outside for the summer

Tonya Wigfall
June 12, 2012
Filed under Health & Wellness

The summer is here and warm weather is the ultimate motivation to get outside and start moving.  Longer nights and extended weekends make summer an ideal time to exercise outdoors.  Lazy weekends are nice, but don’t even think about pushing off your morning sweat session by an hour during the summer.  It gets too hot, too fast, and you may be putting yourself at greater risk for heat exhaustion.  Ideally, you should avoid exercising outside between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.—the hottest times of the day—and aim to head out early in the morning or (my preference) during the evening when the temperatures are cooler.

The trick, however; is to sweat smarter, not harder; and, in many cases, for shorter periods of time.  Doing brief, fast-paced high-intensity workouts (such as climbing stairs) for a total of one and a half hours per week can yield the same result as if you exercised at a lower-intensity for four and a half hours per week.  When exercise is performed at high intensity levels, 20 minutes is usually all you need (or can tolerate) per exercise bout.  Hello – that’s an extra three hours a week you can save for something else during the summer!

Whether indoors but especially when you are out, you are probably already slightly dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty.  To avoid muscle cramps and dehydration, you need to drink up before, during, and after your sweat session.  Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before you workout and sip another eight ounces during your warm-up.  While exercising, it’s recommended to consume another seven to 10 ounces every 15 minutes that you exercise.  When you’re done, remember to rehydrate and perhaps weigh yourself.  Weighing yourself can give you an idea of how much weight you sweated out.  Drink eight ounces in the 30 minutes following a workout, and an additional 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of water weight you lost.

Now that you have moved your exercise outdoors you also have to consider dressing properly. Black exercise tanks may be slimming, but they trap heat.  Darker clothes are going to hold more heat than lighter-colored outfits, so you are going to want to avoid the blacks, dark blues, and dark grays when it’s sunny out.  Many sports clothing stores carry workout gear made from wicking material such as Nike’s Dri-Fit series or Under Armour.  The material does wick moisture away from your body and then dries quickly.  You’re not absolutely dry but much more comfortable and much less likely to chafe, especially if you are a runner.

So remember, stay hydrated and dress appropriately. Choose your exercises and time to exercise wisely because exercising outside for the summer can be both a fun and enjoyable switch from the monotony of exercising inside!

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