It’s been a warm summer here in Minnesota! August is off to a warm start, as well. This week let’s talk about exercising in warm weather. It can be pretty dangerous if you aren’t adjusting for the heat.
Some consequences are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Both are possible when your body gets overheated. When I was an athletic trainer, we were always working with athletes during the summer season to make sure they were taking measures to keep their bodies from overheating.
Find shade! If you are outside in activity, find the trees when you can. Either stay in the shade when you’re active or take breaks frequently. If you’re running, chose a path that’s more covered. Sometimes there are covered areas at sports centers, so look for places to get out of the sun.
Cooling as you go! For athletes more so than runners, you can have a bucket with ice water and towels handy. Take the towels out and cool yourself down by wearing it on your neck while playing, or using it during a break to cool down. Sometimes I even put it over my head when I am on a break.
Proper clothing! Moisture wicking clothes can help by taking the sweat off your body. Breathable clothing is key to ensure your body temperature doesn’t continue to rise. Wearing a hat blocks the sun, as well.
If you know you are going to be outside in the heat and exercising or prolonged activity, start hydrating the day before. Of course, you’ll want to continue to hydrate and take water breaks during the activity. I like to do the “free pee” test. Your urine color is usually a good indication for how hydrated you are. If it is dark yellow or orange, you are dehydrated. If it is clear to a light yellow, your hydration is okay. Make sure to check in when you do to the bathroom and monitor, especially when you have been exposed.
Re-hydrate when you’re done! This ensures that if you did get dehydrated, you are replenishing your body with the needed fluids. I like to use Nuun electrolyte tablets (https://nuunlife.com/). All you do is put the tablet in water and drink the mixture. Some people eat bananas or salty foods. What ever you choose, make sure you are taking steps to replenish your fluids.
Here’s to everyone staying healthy for the remainder of the summer. Let me know what tips you follow when exercising in the hot weather.
Fall fitness activities can be challenging as the weather gets cooler. Your options outdoors with the family may seem limited. However, there are still some things you can do together to get exercise. Here are a few of my favorites.
In the fall, I like to go hiking as a family. Hearing the crunch of the leaves underneath our feet is fun. Our kids like to explore the different leaves on the ground, and see their surroundings differently with the leaves down versus when the trees are full of leaves. Make an event of the hike and take in all the senses. There are many Regional and State Park trails to explore, including some awesome options near the Twin Cities. You can enjoy this one with almost any age children.
It snowed early this year, so you might have missed this activity, but raking leaves together is a great way to get outside and be active. Kids love to jump in leaves and throw them up in the air, so that keeps them moving and active. Think about sectioning off your yard and doing a race to see who can rake their section first. You can do this individually or in teams. It’s going to be in the 60’s this week, so maybe you still have time for this one after all.
We are a little past peak season with the leaf colors, so keep this one for next year… Take a fall bike ride and play a search and find game for the different tree colors. You could count how many colors you see in one section of the ride or tally up the number of a certain color you see in an allotted amount of time. Adding a game element to your bike ride may engage the kids more.
You could also move your activities indoors. There are fun apps out there for activities you can download. Or you can stream YouTube videos that encourage movement and make games of indoor activities.
I hope this helps give you some ideas for fall fitness activities. Let me know what you are up to to stay active with your family! In addition, if you enjoyed this article, read more blog posts from UHC!
Sometimes being active takes motivation. There are some tips and tricks I use to help motivate myself and my family into an active lifestyle.
You might be wondering, “Is it even possible to motivate yourself?” The big thing I have to do is ask myself what activities I actually enjoy spending time doing. I am more likely to engage in movement when I enjoy the activity. So, if you don’t like running, setting a race day as motivation may not be what you need. Maybe you’d enjoy hiking or yoga more. In that case, setting a goal around those activities could be more motivating.
Accountability is important. One tip for accountability that helps me is participating in 30-day challenges with friends. Each day we check in via text to let the others know we did the daily challenge or ask how they are doing on their goals. Having someone to answer to can really increase motivation! Another tip is working a fitness program where you can check off the “boxes” of activities. This helps me stay on track while feeling like I am accomplishing something. Somehow, checking off the box helps the goal to feel more tangible.
In the winter, I am motivated to stay in shape from the fitness activities I’ve done over the summer. I don’t want to lose the results of the hard work from the season. So, in the winter, I try to shift my activities inside (or gym-based activities), like strength and weight training. Staying in shape is the motivation, and I must alter my activity to achieve my goal.
A lot of times, in order to motivate kids to be active, we have to model the behavior and invite them along. This summer, I had goals for my own running. What I did to involve my kids was invite them along to bike with me while I ran. They liked it because they didn’t have to go as fast on the bike; at the same time, they were able to help me run faster. We were doing separate activities together, and the kids seemed to have fun with it.
Another tip for motivating your family to be active is to create little hunts along the way when you are running, biking, hiking, or skiing. We will pick something and count how many we can see along our route. In the winter, you could pick how many snowmen you see while out for a walk, or how many people wearing red jackets while skiing. The options are endless.
Just like for yourself, you can ask your family what types of activities they like doing and then participate with them. I’m talking about movement-based activities here – playing sports, hiking, running. My son likes to play football, so I’ll spend time with him in the yard running drills or playing catch. The point is, the more interested they are in an activity, the more likely they are to do it.
These are some ideas for motivating yourself and your family to stay active. What else works for you?
With the gyms being closed right now and the temptation of eating more during the holiday season, It was a good time to encourage you to stay active. Sometimes it seems like spending time snacking is easier than getting a workout in. The gym being closed, along with the colder weather, could easily be an excuse to ease up on activity.
Our house had to get creative in staying active right now. With the restrictions of limiting interactions with others, even with outdoor activities, along with the gyms not being open, we have needed to shift our normal activity approach! We made a little workout station in our basement to create a dedicated workout space indoors.
Home Gym Setup
Although we have some workout equipment, we decided to add a stationary bike to our home gym. Sometimes we’ll go down for a short time, even twenty minutes, to get a spin session in on the bike. There are a lot of free workout classes on YouTube to take advantage of, without spending extra money on an online class subscription.
We also have a couple free weights and a bench to do some light weightlifting. I like to do more reps of lower weights to help with strength training. This is also a way to get a good workout in when you don’t have heavier weights available. I also like to do a circuit of lifting, so I constantly move from one activity to another to keep my heart rate up. By continuously moving, I am getting a cardio workout in, too.
How could you incorporate a workout station in your home? Purchasing new equipment is not necessary. Use what you have on hand or modify the workout you find free online. The point is, even with the restrictions in place, and the tempting holiday goodies, you can still stay active.
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