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Surviving Summer While Being Active

t can be hard to stay active during the summer; the heat can be debilitating!

I get it — I love being active, especially outdoors, and even I find that the heat can zap the fun out of a workout. The heat too often makes me feel like I am running through peanut butter; on hot days I just want to go home and sit in my air-conditioning.

I may want to, but I don't!

There are always millions of excuses to be inactive — don't let the sun be one of them! Yes, the sun can be an energy suck — not to mention dangerous — but that just means you have to find ingenious ways to be sun smart as well as active! As I always tell my clients, your health is an active process; we all have to actively look for solutions and opportunities to move more!

Pre and post the Vegas half-marathon - this was running in heat!

Tips to survive the heat

  1. Work out inside. Try a new indoor fitness class — a new challenge always motivates me. Plus, registering in advance keeps me from canceling at the last minute, since I don't like to waste money. It's an added bonus if I can try a new class with friends. "Fitness dates" make workouts more fun, and I know I won't bail if someone is waiting for me.
  2. Replace outdoor running with water running or treadmill running.
  3. Avoid the heat of the day. If you want to run or play a sport outside, try to avoid the worst of the heat by being active early in the morning or after dinner. (If you run at night just make sure to wear reflective clothing.)
  4. When you don't even want to go outside to get to the gym, do a mini workout in your living room. Body weight exercises like push-ups, planks, squats, and lunges don't require equipment or lots of space. Remember, a small workout is always better than no workout!
  5. Stay hydrated. I know that dehydration makes me feel hungry, tired, and lethargic. Hunger, exhaustion, and lethargy, especially all at once, can definitely make me want to go home and relax on the sofa instead of working out.
  6. Wear light clothing and — this should go without saying — a hat and sunscreen.
  7. Listen to your body. Take it easy if needed. Stop if you feel overheated or dizzy. Don't be too stoic — the heat of the day is not the time to push through discomfort.
  8. Find sneaky ways to motive yourself to move. For example, try journaling your mood pre- and post-workout for 2 weeks. Then use the stats as motivation. Let me explain. For 2 weeks, rate and record your mood (out of 10) before and after your workout. When I did this, I was usually a 4 to 6 before exercise and a 7 to 9 after. Now, whenever I want to skip a workout, I remind myself that I always feel better after exercise. In fact, the worse I feel, the more I know I need the physical activity. My mood has so much room for improvement. This experiment taught me that skipping my workout is just not an option, so I find ways to work around the heat.
Make being active a non-negotiable. Sure, the heat complicates the matter slightly, but that just makes finding a viable solution that much more rewarding. If the solutions mentioned above don't work for you, no problem. They work for me; that doesn't mean they will be the answer for you. Experiment, figure out your individual recipe for success, and remember, if you fall off your fitness horse a few times this summer, don't panic. Setbacks are bound to happen. Get back on your horse, just get back on a more informed rider.