As the summer heats up many people find that outdoor activities are strenuous, if not dangerous.  Excess heat can lead to serious health problems and should be monitored at all times.  But is the summer heat always a bad thing?  No, as long as your activities are appropriate for the summer and you are prepared in advance.  How can you use the summer heat to your advantage and keep yourself safe from injury?

Summer Heat Stresses The BodySummer heat exercise

As we move and exercise our bodies generate heat, which is itself a type of work that burns calories.  For example, if you walked a city block in the cold of winter your body would generate heat and you would burn calories from that heat (called thermogenesis), and also burn calories from the exercise itself.  But if you walked that same city block in the heat of summer your body would burn more calories as it has to work harder to keep cool through sweating.  This can be used to your advantage for cardiovascular exercise, but you must also be prepared for exercising during the summer.

How To Prepare For Summer Exercise

We all know that hydration is important for all forms of exercise, and that is even more important in the summer.  Make sure to drink plenty of water early in the morning before you exercise, limit caffeine intake, and drink water while you are exercising, even if it is just walking.  You must also take into account your diet during the summer: eat healthy meals with plenty of protein and leafy green vegetables to give you the energy to exercise.  Avoid “protein bars” that usually have poor ingredients.  If you are interested in developing a healthy diet for the summer, contant us today to talk to our strength coaches about what to shop for and how to prepare meals ahead of time.  

Summer Heat Relaxes Muscles

Heat sometimes get a bad reputation because it can be uncomfortable outside during the summer.  But heat also relaxes muscles as your body warms up.  Use this time for stretching before your activity to help prevent injury.  For example, you could make it a goal to drink an entire bottle of water while stretching, and to keep stretching until the bottle is consumed.  Natural Health Sports Therapy can help you develop stretching routines that will keep you limber and help you perform better in your outdoor summer exercise.

Summer Heat Brings Socializing Into Exercise

The summertime is outdoor time, and it is physically and mentally healthy to exercise outdoors with friends.  The social aspect of summer exercise helps to fight off depression and worry, so invite your friends to walk, jog, or play a sport outside.  You can encourage one another to hydrate, eat healthy, and burn calories together.  Summertime also brings about more events where you could be tempted to indulge in foods that should be enjoyed in moderation, such as alcohol or red meat at a BBQ.  If you know that you are going to events or BBQ’s, use the anticipation for it as a motivating factor to exercise, and burn off calories before the day arrives.  This will help you feel better and you will enjoy your event more and not feel guilty about what you eat or drink in moderation.

Summer Heat – Should I Jump In The Ocean?

If your doctor says you are healthy enough to exercise then you should.  But after exercise it is healthy to jump in the ocean or a cold pool?  Absolutely!  At Natural Health Sports Therapy we often play sports on the beach and then go for a quick swim in the cold ocean.  This has benefits:

  • It cools your body down quickly, helping you to stop sweating
  • It shocks your skin with the change of temperature, encouraging collagen formation
  • It is fun, which helps psychogically to boost your mood

If you like these topics and want to learn more about how regular physical therapy can help you live healthier and happier, contact us today to schedule an appointment.