Summer is coming and the temperature is rising. Albeit, incredibly slowly! You are keen to get your beach bod ready or just want to keep up with your weekly workout regime in the warm weather. These tips and tricks by Dr Preethi Daniel, clinical Director, will help you adapt to the warmer conditions and get a great workout.
Should you work out indoors or outdoors?
Participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments will boost your energy levels and improve stress levels (more so than working indoors). In 2011, a review found that participants exercising outdoors reported improved energy and felt revitalised. It even reduced anger. There are studies demonstrating a drop in obesity levels in children simply by spending time outdoors. Moreover, you’ll make and store your year’s supply of Vitamin D. This guy helps strong bones and can even improve your mood. So whether you are surrounded by a bucolic park or a concrete jungle, summer is the time to get fit outdoors!
Protect your skin against skin cancer
Suns out, guns out? Think twice before showing off your great body during your summer work outs. The number one rule of working out outdoors, wear sunscreen. You may not think it is necessary when it is cloudy but UV rays from the sun are still there, causing skin damage. The international scale ranges from 1-20 but above just 3 is enough to cause this damage. UVB helps you get that beautiful tan (and burn if you are not careful) but UVA is the type that will cause cancer. Majority of UV rays can pass through clouds. Using decent sunscreen is essential and should be part of your daily routine whether you plan a run on a hot day or not.
Regulate your body temperature
Increasing body heat is a limiting factor when it comes to exercise performance. Pre-cooling such as a cold shower before your work out will help improve performance in the heat. There is a critical limiting body temperature where your body will naturally reduce your work out intensity, i.e you won’t run as fast or lift as much. Studies show by pre-cooling, you lower your core temperature. Starting at a lower temperature means you will reach critical limit later and this will help your performance.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
When you work out in hot weather, you sweat more. Whilst this may make you feel like you are getting a more intense workout, what it really means is that you are losing more water and salt from your body. There are tons of “super-hydrating” energy drinks on the market with all the necessary electrolytes and other miracle ingredients but remember they are all high in sugar. Stick to water and plenty of it when working out outside.
Stretch those muscles
It may be tempting to forgo the stretch and get stuck right in. Don’t fall victim to this. Whilst it may seem like your muscles are warm enough due to the weather, stretching is super important in preventing injuries. It also helps to metabolise blood sugar, which in turn reduces fat storage. Those long lean muscles, as a result, are much more coordinated and have less unintentional jerky movements for those perfect squats.
Dr Preethi Daniel is Clinical Director at London Doctors Clinic