Summer Fitness Do’s and Don’ts

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Summertime has arrived and with it the sunshine has inspired many to tone up, lose weight and get in shape.

Blue_Water_BottleSummer really opens up a whole load of potential activities to mix up your workouts; you can go for bike rides, long walks, games in the park, outdoor jogging or running, swimming in the sea on holidays.

The motivation to get out and do something is far greater than when it’s cold and miserable outside. But there are potential pitfalls you can fall into, so here is a little guide on how to prepare yourself and get the best out of your summer workouts.

Drink lots of fluid

Hot weather and sunshine causes the body to sweat more and this will increase during even mild exercise like walking, so make sure you replace the fluids you are losing or you will run the risk of dehydration. Don't Wait for Your Thirst to Tell You When to Drink. Once you start thinking about a nice, cold glass of water, you're probably already 1 to 2 percent dehydrated. Try to drink a pint of water about an hour before working out and also rehydrate after your workout.

Please ensure though that the water – yes, water; do not use the special drinks and all that stuff – is not ice cold but just tap cold. Tap? Yes, I very much advocate the use of tap water as you are paying through the nose for bottled water which often is but tap water dressed up as something else.

Don’t eat protein before working out

Eating protein can increase your core temperature which when working out in warm temperatures could cause heat shock. You are much better off reloading on protein after your workout.

Don’t work out between 12 and 4

The midday sun is obviously when temperatures and UV exposure is at their highest points so try to avoid this time of the day to work out in. And there used to be a good old adage that said – and it must have come from India or thereabouts – that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.

Do get outside

The sunshine won’t last forever so make the most of it while you can because before you know it it’ll be dark and cold again.

Don’t forget sunscreen

Protecting yourself against sunburn, sun stroke and harmful UV rays is really important and people often neglect the most basic protection which is sunscreen. Even when it’s cloudy overhead UV rays can still be damaging to your health so don’t underestimate the power of the sun.

Don't Swim With a Naked Face

Many swimmers assume that because their heads are usually halfway underwater, they don't need sunscreen on their face. The sun's rays bounce off the water and the ground below to penetrate the skin on both sides of your face, making you prone to serious UV damage.

In addition to that the chlorine in pool water, as well as the salt in the sea, actually enhance the effect of the sun's rays and will give you sunburn of a much higher rater than if you would be swimming in a river, lake or natural pool/pond.

Don’t load up on junk at the beach

Ice cream stands and high-calorie barbecues are bound to put a damper on your diet, so stay clear of these temptations by being prepared. Pack a cooler with tons of ice, bottles of water (use reusable bottles with tap water), sandwiches on whole grain breads, pita chips, hummus, yogurt and lots of fruit. You’ll feel healthier and happier after your beach day.

Much of this guide also applies if you are out and about hiking or working in the garden or “just” working in the outdoors.

Hydration is one of the most important things to do in warm and hot weather and far too often overlooked or the wrong kinds of liquids are consumed such as lemonades, sodas, or even beer. Alcoholic beverages do not hydrate you, they only appear to do so, but in fact can add to the dehydration.

Stay safe and hydrated, use H2O to go...

© 2014