Temperature hits new highs, but since movement and physical activity are already well established in our lifestyle, most of us don’t want to give up, and we keep going undaunted. But lest we forget .. we need to be very careful and take it as a chance to explore alternative ways to train and, definitely, respect the necessary safety rules thoroughly. Therefore, even if the accomplishment of the specific goals you have set hangs by a thread, always remember that physical activity is effective only when it has real benefits on your physical and mental health.
How can we remain active and effective without impacting our physical condition and body and putting our health at risk?
How can we find Balance by Connecting with our body and remain Active in the most effective way?
The more significant problems that we encounter when we train outdoors in summer are sun, heat, and in some regions, increased humidity levels which, when put all together, increase the risk of dehydration and hyperthermia.
- The golden and inviolable rule is that you must not have any physical activity between 11 am (even 10 am in some regions) and 6 pm. If you are at the beach enjoying beach volleyball or playing rackets, then you should hydrate yourself with drinks rich in electrolytes and get refreshed by short dives in the sea regularly. Obviously, the best time for running or having any physical activity outdoors is as early in the morning as possible when the temperature and the ozone levels are lower. Earlier in the evening, the temperature also drops. Still, your body will have already been drained during the day, and any physical effort may lead to exhaustion and harm the quality of your sleep. With increasing temperatures, the concentration of ozone in the air increases- a factor that you must pay attention to before training. Ozone is very harmful; it irritates the mucous membranes, limits lung function, burdens the heart, and can cause headaches. Also, it is necessary to pay attention to air humidity since high humidity (more than 50%) makes sweat evaporation difficult. In other words, when you train with high humidity levels, your body can’t sweat effectively, and this limits your body’s cooling system (Christina Belitsky, North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center, HuffPost Gr).
- To train effectively and securely, you need to have a suitable hydration plan based on the time you want to exercise to create in advance high retention of fluids in your body. Therefore, a couple of hours before training, you should have fluids and consume healthy foods high in sodium (for example, soup, nuts, peanut butter, etc.…) and avoid losing liquids. During your physical activity, as a rule of thumb, you should drink small quantities of water.
- You should adjust your program in terms of its duration, intensity and type. Hence, when in open spaces, you should opt for medium/low-level interval training exercise. On the contrary, high-level aerobic training should be done in the morning (or in the evening if there is no other choice) in open spaces or indoors with temperatures not higher than 25°C (Dimitris Grifakis, www.askisi.eu).
- If, after having taken all necessary precautions, you feel that your body’s temperature is too high, you should put your hands in cold water for 30″ and take small sips of water. Take some breaks if you feel dizzy or you feel extremely hot. “Listen” and connect with your body, and if you feel nauseous, or if you have a cramp or headache, immediately stop any activity, sit under the shade and drink water at room temperature.
- Generally speaking, summer is the right period to experiment with alternative physical activity.
Yoga, for instance, is a softer but, at the same time, essential and efficient way to get physical all over. Yoga classes at the beach during sunset, with the sand becoming the floor and the sea sounding like music, is the ideal way to rejuvenate during the summer season and connect with your body, your breath, and the surrounding nature. At the same time, you will improve your physical condition and discover new strengths within you even if you are already very fit, since you will learn new ways to work your muscles in a totally different and more profound manner.
Last but not least, an efficient and pleasant way to train in summer is to do it in the water, either swimming or by practising some specific strength exercises such as aqua aerobics. You will achieve a total body workout and increase your muscle mass, your heart will feel so much better, and you won’t create a hostile and stressful impact on your skeleton. If you go for training in the water, I suggest you stay at least for 30′ in the water and keep a good tempo and rhythm to make the most out of it. If you stick to it, you will see excellent results, and you will definitely keep (and even improve) the body you have worked on in the winters indoors.
So it is definitely time to Act but in a different way which will teach you to explore and get familiar with your body offering to it what it really needs while maintaining an active intention to make the most of your physical strength and potential.
This article was originally written in Greek by Isabelle Razis and published in https://www.govastileto.gr/editors-blog/i-5-simvoules-ke-idees-tis-health-coach-izampel-razi-gia-asfali-askisi-to-kalokeri/