Here we are again, back on slow sunshine time. The days are slowly but surely stretching into summer. Although it’s tempting to spend the next three months stretched out on the lawn or next to a body of water, we’re here to help you keep your muscles happy and prepared for the impending return of the fall sports season. In order to keep your game strong and your body healthy, check out these five tips for staying in shape during the hot summer months.
Most people have a hard time with vague, long-term goals like “staying in shape,” so make it easy on yourself. Hammer out a loose schedule for the next couple of months, factoring in work, classes, time with friends, excursions, trips and whatever else you have going on.
Keep it flexible, but make it specific. The clearer you are with what you want to do, the harder it will be to dismiss your plan. Set aside the days that you want to be active, and block out an hour or two for the actual exercise to take place, including warm ups and cool downs. if you’re at a loss for creativity, you can find work-out plans online, like this one from ACTIVE.
Ask yourself what it is you would most like to accomplish before the season returns and then work toward that thing. Is it running a faster mile? If so set the number of seconds you’d like to shave off your current time. Is it mastering a new move or maintaining those washboard abs? Turn these aspirations into tangible goals, like using the move to score a goal five times in a row, or being able to plank for four minutes straight. Set one per week or every other week so as not to lose interest.
Reduce your chances of flaking on your workout by alternating activities. Running the same thirty minute loop six days in a row will not only become excruciatingly boring, but also less effective in building muscle mass and burning fat.
Alternate cardio with core and strength training. If you happen to dabble exclusively in one of these activities (runners and lifters, we’re talking to you) make sure that you are challenging your body in new ways every time (hills, trails, and circuits are great alternatives to the classic trot around the block).
Get adventurous! Remember to reserve at least one day a week for cross-training. Go for a hike, a swim, or spend the day kayaking; make it challenging but keep it fun!
Avoid trying to exercise outside between 10 AM and 3 PM. The heat is hottest during this block of time, so make it easy on yourself and enjoy the cool morning hours, if you can bring yourself to catch them, that is…
While the temptation to sleep-in calls your name, consider the perks of being an early riser: not only is it nice to get focused alone time in before work or school, there are numerous benefits to starting the day with physical activity, including jump starting your metabolism and improving your focus later in the day.
With added activity and sun exposure, it’s important to take care of your body to prevent injury. Here are some tips to keep you safe and protected:
Outfit appropriately for the heat. Light, quick drying materials can make an enormous difference to your mid-work out well being.
Be sure to hydrate often and replenish electrolytes during said activity. This can be accomplished through consuming a variety of foods and drinks.
Protect your skin and wear sunscreen. Do it!
Finally, listen to your body. It knows when to stop better than you do.
Now go out and get fit! Summer awaits. Fall won’t even know what hit it.