the trainer’s toolbox
- Beth Beauchemin (Read About Beth)
Whoo-hooo! Summer has officially arrived (this week, anyway)! Long sunny days, warm nights, daily gelato runs (the power walk to the gelato café“justifies” the calories…. or something like that…). I am so excited that summer is here, and with it the season for rock star outdoor workouts. Well, right now I’m busy teaching rock star Belly Bootcamp stroller classes, and hoping to join them by mid-August after baby #2 is born… fingers crossed!
With today’s unseasonally high temperature, the ladies and I played it cool in the shade – lots of strength work with our very portable elastic tubing and utilizing all the great surfaces that Toronto’s parks provide us with (love picnic benches to get legs looking great!) However, sooner or later, it’s inevitable that we will be exercising under the hot summer sun. With all the recent controversy about how to play it safe in the sun, what’s a gal to do? (Don’t know about all the recent sunscreen controversy? You may be interested in checking Environmental Work Group’s recent posts on sunscreen: http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen)
Here are our tips to surviving summer workouts safely, and in better shape than ever!
1. Build up to it gradually. After Canada’s long and cold winter, this sudden switch to summer has everyone jumping for joy. But…. remember that our bodies have had the past 8 months to get used to being in the cold – take time to acclimatize to our new season, and give yourself a few weeks of more moderate workouts to get your body ready and able to handle the heat.
2. Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!!! Aim to drink about 2 cups of water 2 hours before the workout, and then continue to sip water throughout the workout. Always be sure to drink water after each workout to replace fluids lost. If you have been exercising for a long time or in extreme heat, consider weighing yourself before and after the workout, and drink 2 cups of water for every pound lost. If you are nursing this is even more important, because mommy needs to be hydrated in order to produce milk.
3. Avoid exercising between the hours of 12 and 2pm. Exercising during the hottest part of the day puts you at a greater risk for dehydration, heat illness (exhaustion or stroke), and overall bad workouts. My ideal day has my workout earlier in the morning, then a fabulous nap with the terrible toddler at mid-day. It’s one of my favourite indulgences!
4. Stay in the shade or “create” shade by covering up. Stay in the shade is pretty evident, but if you are going to be in the sun try to wear more than just a sports bra and shorts. Experts are divided on sunscreen, but they are unanimous in saying that the best sun protection is to reduce your exposure. Long sleeved “surf” shirts are a great (and trendy) way to stay cool and protected in the sun. Your shades are also more than just a fashion accessory – they are a “must have” in the summer to protect your eyes from the sun’s dangerous rays. Last, but not least, don’t forget your hat! We make our kids wear hats for a reason – because it’s VERY important!
5. Find a good sunscreen, buy 5 of them (one for every bag…. just like lip gloss!), and slather it on! No need to go out and buy the latest SPF 100+ (yes, they make that). Find something you like between SPF 15 and 50, and wear it! Sunscreen needs about 30 minutes to be effective, so aim to put it on a bit before you head out the door, and make sure to reapply at least every 2 hours, or every hour if you are working up a sweat.
That’s it! Have a fabulous summer of outdoor fun – I’m looking forward to seeing you lunging up one of Toronto’s many hills with the other Belly Bootcamp mommies!