After a long winter cramped in-doors, the summer sun is an invigorating motivation to exercise. It provides great opportunities for everyone to get some fresh air and start new workouts, especially athletes. The heat, however, can bring some unintended problems to your routine. Here are some easy ways to stay safe and healthy while enjoying your summer workout.
- Save Your Skin
A commonly taught, but easily forgotten, step to exercising safely in the summer is to protect yourself from harmful UV rays which can cause skin cancer and damage to the skin. Whether it’s wearing a visor, applying sunscreen, finding shade, or putting on sunglasses, there are many easy ways to prevent the long-term consequences of UV exposure.
- Keep Fluids On You. Literally.
Painfully true during the summer months, sweating is an inevitable part of exercise. Keeping your body hydrated prevents many conditions related to lack of fluids, like heat exhaustion. Consider mixing water with some electrolyte-packed fluids on your run like coconut water or Gatorade, which help your cells to send the correct electrical signals to your muscles. A good rule of thumb is if you begin to feel thirsty, stop and have a drink. Feeling thirsty means your body is already dehydrated and needs water. No matter where you are going to exercise, do not forget to bring a bottle of H2O!
- Watch Out For Humidity
Summer days can be tricky to do cardio in. Between heat waves and tropical storms, good days may be hard to come by. Worst of all – humidity can sneak up on you. For example, if it is a gorgeous 86 degrees outside, but the humidity is 65 percent, according to the heat index chart, it could translate into feeling like 93 degrees. Always plan ahead before you go out, and if possible stay in shaded areas.
- Indoor Facilities: Here To Help
Cardio lovers will be especially bummed if a day comes around when it is too hot to exercise outside. Workout facilities like JAG’s, located conveniently around New Jersey and New York City are excellent resources when a heat wave or extra humidity comes your way. Not only are JAG’s facilities great places to work out on your own, but you will also have access to personal trainers prepared to help you meet your goals.
- Prepare Your Body
Stretching and hydrating can provide a tremendous benefit to your workout. Studies have shown that drinking a glass of water before your work out, around 8-10 ounces, will help you stay cool. Similarly, stretching plays a huge part in your body’s long-term health, as well as immediately during your run. JAG-ONE Physical Therapy President and CEO, John Gallucci, Jr., ATC, DPT says, “Stretching prior to a workout or athletic event promotes blood flow and circulation to the muscles and increases the body temperature, therefore ‘warming up’ the muscles. When your muscles are warm from 10 minutes of dynamic or ballistic stretching… they’re less stiff and can work more efficiently.”
- Listen To Your Muscles
Lots of issues during exercise are related to pushing through discomfort, so paying attention to pain can help out in the long run. If you feel dizzy or uncomfortable, stop exercising. If you have repetitive soreness or pain during your routine, it could be a sign of an underlying problem that needs attention from a physical therapist. JAG is offering complementary injury-prevention seminars in YMCAs and athletic clubs around New Jersey.
And as always, if you suffer an injury, set up an appointment with the experts at JAG-ONE Physical Therapy.