As temperatures soar, it can be a challenge to maintain your exercise routine. Here are 4 ways to beat the heat (literally)!
Many of us tend to think of exercise as a chore — sometimes even a dreaded one. We do it because we know it’s necessary to be healthy, but how many times do we stop and think about the gift of movement? Moving our bodies is literally one of the things we were created for. When we move, we’re not only staying healthy, we’re glorifying God by using our bodies according to His purpose. Especially in this time of pandemic, we should be grateful for the gift of movement and learn to see exercise as a celebration of life itself.
That said, I’m under no illusions about the power of theological and teleological musings to motivate anyone through even five minutes of a workout. Luckily, God planned for that! He created a built-in reward system to motivate us to move. When we exercise, we’re not only keeping our hearts, lungs, muscles and bones strong — we’re also creating new neural pathways and regenerating our brain cells. Our reward for all this hard work is a serious serotonin and dopamine hit that rivals any anti-depressant on the market. Simply put, exercise makes us healthy and happy.
But getting your daily workout is significantly more challenging during the sweltering summer months. Heat is more than just uncomfortable — it can cause dehydration, heat stroke, and in extreme cases even endanger your life. But there are many ways to keep your workout routine going even as the temperatures climb. Here are four of them.
1Get up early (or stay up late)
One easy hack to beat the summertime heat is to embrace sunrise or sunset. Before the sun rises, temperatures are at their lowest — but humidity can often be at its peak, so sunset workouts are another good option. As the sun sets, humidity usually dissipates, making exercising outdoors safer and more enjoyable. No matter which you choose, you get the added bonus of enjoying the most beautiful times of day.
2There's an app for that
Adjusting your schedule is the simplest solution to beat the heat, but it’s not always the easiest — especially for parents of young children. If your little ones make getting up early or staying up late impossible, don’t worry –- there’s an app for that. Seriously. There are tons of free exercise apps available, and many of them can be cast to your TV. So grab your kids and enjoy a lunchtime Zumba dance party, or turn the lights down low and relax with some candlelight flexibility stretches instead of Netflix at the end of a long day. No matter what workout you choose to do, it will help you keep cool while keeping your cool.
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3Throw it back ... to the 1800s
On days when you’re desperate to get a workout in but also bemoaning the state of your house, kill two birds with one stone — grab a bucket and some rags and wash the floors on your hands and knees. Attack the grout you’ve been trying to ignore, scrub the baseboards, wash the windows — heck, even sitting cross-legged on the floor to fold laundry will get your core and back muscles engaged! Trust me, you will be surprised at how sore you are after washing your floors the old-fashioned way … and you’ll probably be surprised at how much cleaner they are too!
4Get heat acclimated
Even if you work out inside every day all summer long, getting your body heat-acclimated is still a vital part of maintaining good health. Drastic changes in temperature, like those we experience from walking into a 60° building out of the 80° sun, take a serious toll on our immune systems. As a warm-blooded mammals, our bodies are made to acclimate to changing temperatures — but for most of human history, those changes happened slowly and gradually with the changing seasons. Our bodies can’t keep up with rapid and extreme temperature changes — our immune systems crash, our metabolisms slow down, even the chemical balance in our brains can get wonky. Allowing our bodies to acclimate to changing seasons is a vital part of maintaining good health all year long. But you don’t have to go crazy and rip your AC out of the wall or anything. Start slow. Increase the thermostat by 1° each day until it’s within 10-15° of the outdoor temperature. Spend as much time as possible outside at the beginning and end of the day, or when it’s cloudy and cooler. After a few weeks of this you might find that the heat that seemed so brutal isn’t that bad after all. You might even find that you kinda like it. But even if you don’t like the heat, I’m willing to bet you’ll like the change in your electric bill. Win-win.