Summer is often a time to relax and recharge, and for many of us, we look forward to spending our summer at the pool or beach, playing with friends, and getting outside our usual go-go-go rushed routines. It’s a time for barbeques, late sunsets and long days and nights outside, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
While it’s important for our mental health to have some downtime periodically, it’s also important to still maintain some sort of schedule or semblance of normalcy, and I find this is especially true with fitness and exercising all summer long. With typically hotter-than-usual temps during the summer months, for many of us, we may have to alter our exercise routines of choice to accommodate for the more challenging elements, and that’s totally okay! What matters more is that we do our part to continue to take care of our bodies by getting in a regular workout most days.
Below, I’ll describe in detail some summer fitness tips that have helped me through the years. They include:
Adjust for the weather. When the temperature is exceedingly warm, the dewpoint insufferable, and/or the humidity and heat index intolerable, absolutely remember to adjust your exercise expectations for the weather. If you’re used to being able to effortlessly run a 9 minute mile, for example, don’t be surprised if you find yourself running closer to 9:30 or 10 minute+ miles during the heat of the summer.
Protect your skin during outdoor summer fitness activities. It’s great to spend tons of time outside during the toasty summer months, and depending on where you live, this may be the best time of year to be outside. However, don’t forget to take care of your skin and to protect it from the sun’s deleterious effects during the summer. Remember: you can still get a bad sunburn even on a cloudy day.
Try something new. With warm weather on your side, the summer could be an excellent time for you to change up your fitness routine by trying something new. Consider trying water sports like stand-up paddleboarding, or get some laps in the open water at a nearby lake, pond, or ocean. Take a masters swim class at your local pool, too!
Stay hydrated all day long: before, during, and after exercise. It’s important for all athletes to stay hydrated throughout the day, but this is especially true when the weather is warmer than usual. It’s critical to stay hydrated, and remember, you can get sufficiently hydrated both by drinking and eating your fluids. Aside from drinking water, some foods, such as water-heavy melons and other fruits can actually hydrate you pretty well while also providing you with some important vitamins and minerals. Take care to not dehydrate yourself by drinking excessive amounts of diuretic liquids, like caffeinated coffee, tea, or soda, too.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. When you’re exercising outside during the toasty summer months, remember to always err on the side of caution, particularly if you begin to feel unwell. If, at any time during your workout, you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or exceedingly tired, immediately adjust your expectations and seek out safety, shelter, and/or fluids. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are both very real and can be very damaging to your health and well-being. No workout is ever worth jeopardizing your health.
Remember that something is better than nothing. If you’re a parent, exercising during the summer months can be tough when you’re trying to entertain your kids all day, in addition to running your household, working, and staying sane. It’s possible you may not be able to get out each day at your usual time for your usual workout, and that’s okay! Remember that something is better than nothing when it comes to fitness. Even though you may not be able to run your usual 10k route mid-morning, enjoy the time that you can spend instead with your children — even if they are driving you crazy! — and encourage them to get outside and play during the summer months when they’re on break from school. Play with them, too! You’d be surprised at how quickly you can exert yourself and really wear yourself (and your children!) out during an intense game of tag or hide-and-go-seek.
Summer is a fantastic time to make memories with your family, and it can also be a great time to liven up your usual fitness routine. With the above suggestions, I bet you’ll be able to find a way to strike a balance this summer and have a lot of fun in the process.
Dan Chabert is an entrepreneur and an avid runner. When he is not busy preparing for a marathon, he spends his time managing his websites Runnerclick, Nicershoes and Runners101. He also loves to travel to popular destinations together with his wife Jane.