Summer is a great time to get active. The days are longer, the mornings are the ideal temperature to get outside and hopefully your joints are enjoying the extra heat! Some people do find that the warmer temperature leaves them feeling exhausted, so here are our top tips on staying fit and energized through the summer months.
Check your hydration levels
Your body is around 60% water, and in the warmer months we risk losing extra fluid to sweat as we try to cool off. Dehydration can lead to multiple unwanted health conditions, including joint pain. Drinking enough water promotes healthy circulation and the production of synovial fluid, which cushions our joints. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink before you feel thirsty, especially on exercise days!
Get your laps up
Swimming is the perfect summer exercise – it keeps our cardiovascular system healthy, tones our muscles and allows us to move vigorously without overloading the joints. On a warm day it can be a great way to cool off and keep moving when it’s warm outside. To get started, equipment such as pool noodles and kick-boards can help; or a qualified swim instructor. If swimming isn’t for you, don’t underestimate the benefits of walking or running in the water! The water creates resistance for the muscles while lessening the impact on the joints. Being submerged in water that comes up to your chest offloads your body weight by 75%, which is why it feels like we can do more in the pool than on the land.
Walking on sand
If you are fortunate enough to be near a beach, taking your regular walking routine onto the sand is an amazing way to burn calories and use different muscles in your legs. For this reason, it is still recommended that people wear supportive footwear when starting to walk on a beach.
In fact, walking on dry sand requires approximately 2.5 times the energy expenditure compared to the same walk on a footpath.
Walking in soft sand is significantly harder than hard sand, due to the strength of the muscles required to overcome the sinking of each step. Sand walking is also a great way to improve your balance: soft sand is unstable and unpredictable, so your brain and body must communicate at a rapid rate to make adjustments to each step.
Getting the timing right
Waking up with the sun in summer is the right time to get active – everything is bright and inviting, without the sting of the midday sun. Avoid exercising outdoors during the warmest part of the day (typically between 11 and 4pm) to prevent heatstroke and dehydration. Instead, you could opt for an air-conditioned gym or a refreshing indoor swim.
The hours before sunset are also a great time to move. Going for an after-dinner walk is a great way to wind down, and can provide quality time for families.
No matter how you choose to stay active in summer, don’t let the heat get in your way – be sensible about the time that you choose to exercise and enjoy the extra energy that fitness brings.