By Laura Shelly
The summer is a great time of year to take your workout outdoors! In Canada, summer flies by so fast so why not take advantage of the beautiful weather that comes along with it. If working out in the heat, be sure to be mindful of how your body is feeling, and take the following steps to ensure a safe and fun time out in the heat!
• Stay hydrated! This means pre, during and post workout. To avoid any heat-related ailments such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke, this is extremely important. With our bodies being about 70 per cent water, it’s important to stay hydrated at all times throughout the day, and especially during a high intensity workout.
• Consume enough fuel! Be sure to eat a meal or snack before any workout (outdoors or not). This will prevent lightheadedness, general fatigue and loss of lean muscle mass. Food is meant to act as energy, and it’s important to eat a balanced diet in order to achieve increased strength, energy and endurance.
• Electrolytes! Electrolytes include sodium and potassium and are necessary for proper hydration and rehydration. Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, and also tastes great on a hot day. You can also add coconut water to smoothies as an alternative to plain water.
• Save your money. Vitamin D is provided to you for free by the sun! Getting outside also allows your body to absorb a natural source of vitamin D. I know I take a supplement during the cooler months, but because I’m outside during the summer so much, I really don’t need to supplement. Vitamin D is vital for regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, facilitating normal immune function, and boosting one’s mood!
• Wear sunscreen! Sunscreen is so important in order to protect your skin from the damaging sun’s rays. The sun is known to cause skin cancer, as well as aging, so be sure to apply this at least 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure. I’m always diligent about applying it to my face, but have to remember to apply it to my body, too.
• Opt for the shade! On the really hot days, if shade is an option, try to stay in those areas as much as possible. Not only will this reduce exposure to the sun, it will also help your body feel cooler, which will result in greater energy for your workout. I have to admit I love my runs in the bright sunshine, but I listen to my body and ensure to stay hydrated and/or hit a shady trail if need be.
• Change of pace! Getting outside is both fun and a nice change of pace from the winter months, where the population as a whole tends to spend far more time indoors on the couch under the blankets eating comfort food. Summers are short, so make the best of them!
Being out in nature is known to relieve stress and anxiety, which will positively affect your mood in today’s busy world.
These are some tips for you to follow when taking your workout outdoors. Some of my favourite outdoor activities include running along Lake Shore, biking on local trails, doing hill sprints or stairs at a local park, or pushing my clients through an outdoor workout with or without equipment.
*Exercise of the month: Hill sprints! Warm up for five to 10 minutes, run up the hill, walk back down and actively rest for 90 seconds and repeat this pattern four to six times.
Laura Shelly has been a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor for 3 years, and also specializes in pre- and post-natal fitness. She has her own local business called ‘Laura’s Bombshells’ where she focuses on both in-home and gym training, as well as online training programs. Contact her via ‘Laura Shelly’ on Facebook, on Twitter @LShell86, Instagram @laurashellyfit or by email at email@example.com for help or inquiries.