7 Tips to Keep You Moving on Hot Summer Days
We all know that exercise is important. Exercise has both immediate and long-term mental and physical health benefits and is critical to overall well-being. But did you know that exercising can also help keep sugar cravings at bay? A study published earlier this year found that people who are sedentary are more likely to crave high-calories foods, while those who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise found it easier to say “no, thanks.” In addition to helping you maintain a low-sugar lifestyle, exercise can also counteract the effects of sugar if you do indulge. When you eat sugar, your body releases fats into your bloodstream. However, another recent study found that the bodies of people who exercise are better at re-absorbing those fats and using them for fuel. In short, your body is better able to handle sugary treats if you’ve been exercising. But even armed with that knowledge, staying active can be tricky on sticky summer days. Here are seven tips to motivate you, no matter how hot it gets.
- Commit to a Routine. For many people, summer is a time when routines slip. We’re more likely to be traveling, staying up late, and generally not adhering to a schedule. This can make exercising hard. Instead of letting your workouts slip, dedicate a specific time each day to working out. We suggest first thing in the morning, when you’re less likely to have any other activities interrupting you.
- Take Advantage of Longer Days. If you simply can’t commit to being a morning person, get your exercise in at the end of the day. With the summer light stretching until 8pm in many places, there is plenty of time for an after-dinner walk or run. Working out in the evening can help you digest and even sleep better, as long as you don’t go within three hours of your bedtime. Plus, it’s cooler than during the mid-day hours.
- Take a Swim. Remember how much fun you used to have splashing around as a kid? It turns out that swimming is great exercise as well, burning about 400 calories an hour if you’re swimming at a moderate pace. Plus, it’s easy on your joints and will quickly cool you down.
- Head Inside. Understandably, many people want to exercise outside during the beautiful summer months. But if you’re miserable being outdoors on the hottest days, going to an air-conditioned gym or even doing a workout video at home can help prevent you from otherwise skipping a workout.
- Stay Hydrated. Instead of drinking your sugar, infuse water with the natural sweetness that is all around us during the summer. Add watermelon or strawberries to a pitcher of water and allow it to sit overnight. You’ll be amazed at how much flavor seeps into the water without any added sugar.
- Take it Slow. If you’re someone who loves fitness, you might get a thrill from high-intensity interval training. However, doing slower workout still has great health benefits and they’re easier to recover from. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the heat, give yourself permission to take it easy for a few days.
- Focus on Stretching. All that heat is good for something: it can make you more flexible. Take advantage by trying to incorporate more yoga, pilates and other stretches this summer. If you’re disciplined about it you’ll reap the benefits even after the days are cooling down.