The extreme heat during summer affects your workout competence and makes you feel tired faster as compared to other seasons. Here are some tips to make your summer exercise regimen efficient and easy:
- Exercise either early in the morning or late in the evening, as during these times the temperature outside is comparatively lower than that in the afternoon. By doing so, you will feel better, sweat lesser and not get exhausted easily.
- Do shorter workouts than normal. If you usually exercise for about 60 minutes, reduce it to 40 minutes during summer. By doing so, you will not get tired soon, will be able to exercise with more vigour and reap maximum benefits from you efforts. Never exercise till you reach your fatigue point [when you are not capable of lifting even 50 per cent weights or even lesser of your normal capacity].
- Opt for indoor rather than outdoor sports if you prefer play as your choice of workout [badminton, table tennis or squash]. However, do not let your session exceed 40 – 45 minutes. Swimming, early morning or late evening, is also a better option as compared to other outdoor activities. Take a shower after the session; it will leave you refreshed and make you more active.
- Do more of flexibility and stretching exercises than lifting heavy weights in the hot season. Indoor cycling gives great results. You can also opt for indoor yoga exercises to keep your body in top condition. Cycling early in the morning or late at night is also beneficial.
- Try alternatives like functional training, athletic training, outdoor training and even beach workouts if you are missing weight training too much. These exercises too should be preferably done late in the evening or early in the morning.
- Workout only till the point of perspiration, never go overboard. Take more breaks between sets. Do warm-up and cool-down exercises religiously before and after the workout.
- Wear cotton clothes when you exercise. Cotton easily absorbs sweat and allows the body to cool faster. Since cotton clothes do not stick to your body like synthetic fabrics, your chances of developing a rash or allergy goes down.
- Maintain your body temperature at all times. If it rises beyond the normal range, you start losing your body rhythm and mental alertness, thus affecting your physical performance. Keeping your body well-hydrated by drinking cold water during your workout helps control temperature. You must drink about 600 – 750ml of water for every 45 minutes of workout.
- Drink plenty of cold water or energy drinks during your workout. Avoid sugary or glucose drinks. They provide an instant spike, but make you feel more tired later. Instead, opt for energy drinks, which provide a slow and gradual release of energy to sustain the body’s requirement for a longer time. Drink plenty of natural juices like that of orange, lime and lemon juices. They will help you maintain your body temperature as well as provide the necessary nutrition to your body. A protein shake is also a good option to have after your workout.
Drink water when you workout
By Samreedhi Goel
On a normal day, we lose as much as 1.5 litres of water through sweat, expiration and urine. During exercise, almost a litre or more of water is lost in an hour depending on the intensity of exercise and the temperature of the place you workout. While working out, the muscles repeatedly contract and relax, which generates heat thus causing a rise in body temperature. Sweat is formed on the skin surface, which evaporates and gives the body a cooling effect.
Scorching temperature, high humidity, loss of fluids and evaporation of sweat add to the heat stress in the body. If this fluid is not replaced, it leads to dehydration and a dramatic drop in your performance.
With loss of sweat, the volume of circulating blood actually declines making it tough for the heart, brain and other vital organs to receive oxygen and other nutrients.
The heart starts to work harder, which puts an added strain on the circulatory system. As you lose more water, the body starts losing its ability to cool itself [the enzymes in the body being protein cannot function at high temperatures].
However, you may not reach such a chronic level of dehydration exercising indoors, since most gyms are air conditioned. You still need to hydrate yourself for the simple reason that your muscles are still working hard and generating heat.
Here are some things you must know:
- If your muscles aren’t growing, it could be due to inadequate water intake and not because of low protein intake, since 75 per cent of muscles is water.
- The best way to determine how much water you must drink is to look at your daily calorie intake. For every 1,000 calories you consume, you need to drink 1 – 1.5 litres of water.
- Drink water sip by sip while exercising. Gulping large quantities of water while you are on the treadmill is only going to give you a side stitch [intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage] or make you queasy during the rest of your workout.
- Cold water at a temperature of 8 – 9 oC is best because at this temperature it empties out into the intestines and reaches the tissues faster.
- While exercising the thirst sensitivity of the body goes down i.e. the body is unable to signal when you start getting thirsty. By the time your body actually gives you the signal you are partially dehydrated. Don’t wait for thirst, drink water anyway.
—Samreedhi Goel is a Mumbai-based nutritionist and personal trainer.