It's hard not to love summer with its multitude of activities opportunities for outdoor exercise. But summer also means heat, and when it comes to your fitness program you need to make sure you're taking the proper steps keeping yourself healthy - and safe - when the mercury begins to rise.
Here is a list of fitness do's and don'ts to keep in mind this summer.
Be Wary of Protein Loading
Studies have shown that consuming too much protein before your workout could elevate your body's temperature, making you feel even hotter. Consume protein after your workout when it helps rebuild muscles. It's better to cool down before you warm up to perform better in the heat. Sipping a flavored ice drink 30 minutes before you exercise can improve performance by enabling you to exercise longer. Be careful what you choose for your iced drink, however. Try combining your favorite sports drink with crushed ice.
Monitor Your Hydration
A general rule of thumb says that when you start thinking about a nice cold drink your body is already mildly dehydrated. One way to ensure you're properly hydrated is by checking your urine; if it's the color of pale lemonade, then you're hydrated. Anything darker usually signals dehydration.
Experts suggest drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before exercise. You can then keep yourself hydrated in the heat by drinking seven to 10 ounces every 15 or 20 minutes during your workout, which is extremely important on the hottest days. And remember: you're also sweating during water-based workouts, such as swimming, surfing and water aerobics.
Listen To Your Body
The heat affects even the fittest of people because it can stress the heart and lungs while increasing body temperature. Your body's natural cooling systems can be compromised in extreme temperatures, leading to cramping or heat exhaustion. Monitor your pulse to ensure that it's staying within its target zone, and beware if you experience muscle cramping, nausea, dizziness, weakness, headache or a rapid heartbeat. If you notice these symptoms, stop working out and move inside to a cooler place.
Sunscreen should be an essential part of any outdoor fitness routine. One study showed that cyclists are exposed to more than 30 times the recommended UV radiation exposure. Apply one ounce of water-resistant sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, even if it's cloudy.
There are so many places to get fit outside in Amarillo. Working with a personal trainer like Ralph Roberts can help you meet your health and fitness goals. Contact Ralph today for a personalized fitness plan to get you in shape for summer.
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