Being physically fit is not just important for today’s military service men and women, it’s essential. They need to be ready for action at a moment’s notice and when their bodies are in shape, it’s easier and less stressful on them. For this reason, it is crucial that active duty service members maintain solid workout routines year-round.
As we head into the warm weather seasons, you will need to alter your workouts a bit to avoid potentially harmful problems like dehydration, heat stroke, excessive sun exposure, and more. To help you get the most out of your warm-weather workouts, here are ten tips that will make them safer and more effective.
#1: Dress for the Weather
The warmer the weather gets, the more you will have to focus on the clothes you workout in. Since you will be sweating more, you need to wear clothing that allows sweat to evaporate. Clothes that can “wick away moisture” are usually made from polyester/cotton blends. They should also be loose-fitting. You don’t want to wear tight clothing that sticks to your body because it will trap moisture rather than letting it evaporate, and evaporation is essential for your body’s natural cooling process to work.
#2: Keep Your Body Hydrated
To produce sweat, your body needs to be hydrated and the more you sweat, the more water you’ll have to take in to replenish your system. If you don’t replenish your body’s water during exercise, then you will be at risk for developing muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or worse. Drink small amounts of water throughout your exercise regimen and avoid gulping large quantities all at once. If you want to replenish lost electrolytes, stay away from sports drinks as they contain a lot of sugar. Drink coconut water instead as it is one of the highest sources of natural electrolytes known to man. You can also make your own “sports drink” by making a mixture of spring or filtered water, lemon or lime juice, and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt.
Drink coconut water to stay hydrated during a warm-weather workout. It is naturally high in electrolytes.
#3: Protect Your Skin
If you like to workout outside of the home, then you will need to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Before venturing outside, make sure you cover the exposed parts of your body with a good quality sunscreen. You can also try taking astaxanthin for even more protection. Astaxanthin is a supplement that works as an internal sunscreen and skin protector. Astaxanthin has also been reported to help reduce or eliminate the nausea that many athletes feel when being exposed to the sun for a lengthy period of time. Its efficacy has even been scientifically proven.
#4: Try to Work Out When the Heat is Not at Its Peak
If your schedule allows, try to keep your workouts to the times of day when the heat is not at its peak. Working out in the early morning or after the sun goes down will reduce your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Working out at these times will also help limit your exposure to high humidity and air pollution levels.
Working out in the early morning or after the sun goes down will reduce your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
#5: Take a Cool Shower Before Working Out
If the day is particularly hot and humid, then taking a cool shower before working out can help improve your performance. Drinking something cold prior to working out can also help your body deal with the heat better.
#6: Keep Salty Snacks Available
Salt is essential for your body to work properly, and when you work out, you lose a lot of it in your sweat. So, keep some salty snacks available (like nuts, seeds, or olives) so you can replenish your sodium and potassium levels if necessary. Eating something salty (but also nutritious) during or after your workout will help your body recover and reduce the risk of injury.
#7: Work Out with a Partner
Heat exhaustion or heat stroke can sneak up on you, but once it hits you can be in danger. One way to reduce this risk is to work out with a buddy. This will allow you to watch out for each other, making your daily workout safer and more enjoyable. As a plus, having a workout partner will also help you stick to your regimen more faithfully.
#8: Walk Barefoot
Every electrical system is grounded. Since the human body is a self-contained electrical system, grounding has also been shown to be beneficial. Grounding in terms of the human body is often called “earthing,” and it involves walking barefoot on the ground. The belief is that when you walk barefoot, your body absorbs negative electrons from the earth, and these electrons are considered by many scientists to be the most powerful antioxidants available. Grounding the body has also been believed to be beneficial to the heart and skin and it helps reduce inflammation and blood viscosity. Read more about earthing and grounding.
#9: Start Slow
In warm weather, your workout regimen should start slowly so your body can acclimate itself to the temperature. This is even more important if you’re just coming from an air-conditioned space. Gradually increase your workout as your tolerance improves. You will know you are tolerating the heat better when you start sweating more rapidly and your sweat is more diluted.
#10: Listen to Your Body
Your body will tell you when it’s time to take a break. Your job is to listen to it. If you are working out alone and you start feeling dizzy, confused, cold and clammy, or you are having difficulty breathing, then you should stop immediately and take a break. Sit down, drink some water, and eat a salty snack. If you don’t feel as if you’re recovering, seek medical attention immediately by calling someone for help.
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