Top Tips for Exercising in the Summer
Summer is the ideal time to start a new exercise programme – there are more hours of daylight available, and the better weather should mean that you don’t have to stay indoors to keep your fitness levels up. Here Keep Moving Suffolk look at a few of the different types of exercise which can be fitted into a normal working day – and provide a few safety tips to make sure you don’t suffer in the heat.
A Quick Swim
Swimming is particularly good for you as it can really leave you feeling reinvigorated, and it can also help you build up muscles and lose weight. It’s been estimated that spending just half an hour in the water can burn around 300 calories. And, because it exercises both sides of the body equally, it’s better than some other sports, where you can favour one side or foot over the other. There are plenty of pools in Suffolk – plus there’s lots of coastline to choose from as well. It should be possible to fit a quick swim into your lunch hour; if not, why not go before you go to work?
A Bike Ride
If you live close enough to work, then why not cycle in? Many employers are part of the Cycle to Work scheme, which offers incentives to staff to get on their bikes – check if your company or organisation is part of it. If you work from home, a ride in your lunch hour can help you work up an appetite. Wherever you choose to cycle, make sure you wear a helmet and some bright-coloured clothing; even in the long summer days you need to be sure that people can see you.
Depending on the intensity at which you are riding, you can burn about 370 calories in a 30-minute session. Cycling also helps strengthen your leg muscles (such as hamstrings and calves) without putting additional pressure on your joints that you would get from jogging or running.
Suffolk is also home to two national cycle network routes, Route 1 which runs North-South, from Stratford St Mary to Beccles, and route 51, which goes east-west, from Felixstowe and into Cambridgeshire; these are generally off-road or along quiet roads. There are also plenty of local clubs to join around the county if you would prefer to make your cycling more of a social activity.
A Quick Walk
Walking is a great form of exercise – it’s simple, free and easy to build into the working day, particularly if it’s summertime and unlikely to be raining. Even if you live a long way from your workplace, you can park somewhere further away, or (if you use public transport) get off your train or bus a stop earlier or later, and just walk the rest of the way.
You could also walk your children to school in the morning rather than do the ‘school run’ in the family car – and even using the stairs rather than an escalator or lift will improve your physical health.
Walking at a speed of 4mp for half an hour can burn more than 200 calories – and there are plenty of fitness devices on the market these days so it’s easy to keep track (literally) of how far you have gone. They also make it simpler to set yourself a daily or weekly target.
And If It’s Wet…
The variable British climate means sunshine isn’t guaranteed, even in the height of summer. There’s plenty you can do indoors, even if it’s raining, and these are easy to build into your working day.
You can do some stretches, yoga or Pilates, either when you wake up (10 minutes earlier if you have to get to work) or combining it with another activity. So do some stretches or have a little dance while you are preparing a meal. It’s also possible to do some what are now being called ‘deskercises’; you can still do some stretches while sitting down, or you could attach a resistance band to your workplace seat and exercise that way. You may be able to get some more ideas by reading our previous blog here.
Staying Safe in the Sun
However, just because it’s nice and warm outside, there are a few simple safety precautions to take to ensure you don’t do yourself more harm than good.
Avoid doing too much between 12noon-3pm; this is when the sun is at its hottest, and when it’s easy to overdo the exercises, particularly if you are just starting out.
Wear light, preferably colourful clothing – this will again ensure you don’t put too much strain on your body and your perspiration will evaporate more easily. It will also help you be seen (by motorists) if you are exercising near traffic or roads.
Stay well hydrated – the body needs more water in warmer temperatures anyway, whether or not you are exercising. Our bodies sweat more in hot weather to help cool down, so we need to replenish those lost fluids by drinking more water. So, however and wherever you are exercising, take a water bottle with you.
And, depending on how long you are doing the exercises for, it may be helpful to have the sun cream on hand as well. Sunburn, aside from the redness and discomfort that goes with it, accelerates the skin’s aging process and is a leading cause of skin cancer.
If you would like any help or advice about exercising in the summer, you can browse this site for other useful tips and links on how to stay active. For instance, we have a whole section on exercising outside, with lots of different ideas for keeping fit.