The mercury is rising, the days are longer and you’re counting down the weeks ’til you can hit the beach. Although evening BBQs and after work drinks in the sunshine might be tempting, now is not the time to skip the gym. Whether you’re training for a big event or just looking to slim down for your new bikini, staying on top of your fitness plan is essential during the next few months.
Here are our top tips for staying motivated and exercising during summer:
1. It goes without saying that now the weather isn’t bitterly cold or snowing, we should take advantage of the great outdoors. Swap the treadmill for the park, your early morning spin class for a long bike ride and enjoy the good weather outside. Walking and hiking is a brilliant way to get friends and family together for some exercise – just pick a scenic route and you’ll soon forget you’re burning calories.
2. Staying hydrated is even more important in the summer months – as the weather is warmer, you will begin to dehydrate faster as your body begins to sweat during exercise. It’s not only important to drink water before you exercise, but also during and after a tough workout to top up your vital hydration levels. If you’re exercising outdoors, try to bring a drink with you. Cyclist, hikers and runners can benefit from hydration packs that carry a ‘bladder’ of water that is stored in your backpack and drunk from a straw that runs into the shoulder strap of the bag. Sipping on a sports drink with electrolytes if you are exercising for longer than an hour will also help replace the essential minerals and salts your body has sweated out.
3. Acclimatising to the heat is essential – don’t attempt to run a marathon on the hottest day of the year if most of your training has been in an air conditioned gym for the last six months. Even the fittest people can have trouble exercising when the weather suddenly turns hot and humid. The best way to acclimatise is to start training outdoors in the heat for only a few minutes each day and gradually increase your time outside and your tolerance to the temperature. It’s also a good opportunity to get your breathing technique down if you’re training for a race or special event too. Some yoga or pilates classes in a park is a great way to acclimatise and get your breathing under control. Some athletes have found products like OXYfit’s oxygen in a can improved their stamina and performance whilst they were training outdoors.
4. Protecting your skin from the sun is essential if you’re exercising outdoors. The British Skin Foundation recommends using a sun cream of SPF 30 and above with broad spectrum UVA and UVB barriers. Remember that if you’re sweating, your sun protection may not last as long as you expect so if you’re exercising outdoors for long periods of time reapply regularly, at least every couple of hours. It’s also important to change up your exercise wardrobe once the summer weather hits. Although cotton is comfortable, it doesn’t wick away moisture very well and when you sweat, the damp material will only stick to your skin and might chafe. Try wear a loose-fitting wicking fabric like polyester or a cotton blend designed especially for exercising in hot weather.