By Maryellen Fowler
Whether or not you’re a gym rat, there’s nothing like heading to the great outdoors to get some fresh air and fitness. From rowing to paddle boarding, yoga to urban hikes, there are tons of awesome ways to get out and get active. If you need the motivation of an instructor or like the camaraderie of classes, try an outdoor class. CORE STUDIOS offers outdoor summer classes that will take your workout to the next level. This year we have changed it up and are offering: Outdoor Cardio Playground. Nothing beats using the city of Providence as our playground! A recent study from Environ Science Technology found that outdoor exercise may improve energy levels and decrease stress to a greater extent than an inside workout. They additionally found that group exercise may actually increase motivation to workout. So an outdoor class just may be the very best of both worlds!
In order to workout safe, have an action plan in place:
- Staying Hydrated: The number one, most important thing to do is hydrate. But, what do you drink and when? One study specifically recommends drinking plenty of fluid two hours before exercise, 5- to 10-ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during exercise and drinking fluids with increased sodium content after exercise. Just be careful not to over hydrate, which can be just as dangerous as dehydration.
- Drink Something Cold: On a hot day it’s better to drink something cold before exercising as a way to pre-cool the body.
- Increase Electrolyte Intake: Replenishing electrolytes are extremely important. Electrolytes are lost through sweat and during warm weather workouts. Electrolytes are sodium and potassium; they help the body retain and absorb water. Sports drinks can be an easy fix to increase your electrolyte intake but for some people who do not enjoy sports drink and alternative is mixing apple juice and water. One study compared the effects of rehydrating with water, mineral water and a mixture of apple juice and water. The only beverage that showed any difference in restoring electrolytes after exercise in the heat was the apple juice/water drink — those that drank it retained more potassium than the others.
- Carb Loading: Electrolytes aren’t the only things to stock up on: The body also needs more carbohydrates during intense workouts in the heat. Carb loading is a good idea for an endurance event. So opt for the whole grain toast with your breakfast!
- Climate: Gradually increase the intensity and duration of outdoor workouts in the heat so the body can better adjust and adapt to the conditions. The process can take up to 10 to 14 days, but it’s important to ease into the new regime during the first few days for best results.
- Become a Morning Person: Not only is the temperature outside cooler but our body temperatures are also lower in the morning than in the afternoon.
Follow these tips, and the hot, New England weather will not impede your workouts. Need a bigger incentive to step away from the gym? There’s a special bonus to successfully training in the heat: your workout could be easier when temperatures drop! Studies show that the effects of proper heat acclimatization improved sweat response, lowered heart rate, and lowered body temperature for athletes even when training in cooler temperatures. All the more reason to follow our tips and get outside.
Maryellen is a Fitness Instructor at CORE Center of Real Energy in Providence. She has been a fitness professional since 1987 and is nationally certified in personal training, yoga, and fitness instruction.