I don’t understand people who complain about summer. In fact, I’m jealous of those who won the geography lottery and live in places where they can enjoy summer year round.
I will often cut the grass during the hottest part of the afternoon. If the lawn is good, I’ll go for a walk when the heat index is at it’s peak.
I LOVE SUMMER!
But, maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re one of those who cringes when the forecast is above 80 degrees. Yours is a constant quest to avoid the heat. How do you navigate fitness when it’s just too hot…especially if you just started the 90 Day Step Challenge and you’re committed to reaching your daily step goal? Here are 6 ways to beat the heat and keep your fitness momentum moving forward:
Use The Gym
I’m not a fan of the treadmill. But, I’m even less a fan of not moving. If you don’t enjoy walking in the heat of summer head for the gym and use the treadmill. The great part about having this option is you probably won’t need it every day.
On those days when the temperature climbs above your comfort zone, it’s much better to have an option that’ll keep your fitness chain growing. If you don’t already belong to a gym, pick one that is convenient…on the way home from work, or within a few minutes of your house. You don’t want to add “it’s inconvenient” battle to your life while trying to build a fitness foundation.
Planet Fitness is a great option because it is low cost and there’s no long term commitment. Find one close by and use it until summer starts to blend into autumn…which is a GREAT season for walking outside.
Find a Park
There’s a park less then five minutes from our house that has a one-mile paved walking trail. Most of it is in the shade which makes it feel much cooler. It’s actually not, though. The air temperature is no different in the shade or full sun. Did you know that? It’s the sun on our skin that makes us feel 10-15 degrees hotter than when we’re in the shade.
Not that any of that really matters. All you care about is finding a place that FEELS cooler so you can get your steps outside. A shaded park will help you do just that.
A walk through the park is also more interesting than a treadmill. Although, the trail close to us is not truly “in the woods” it feels like it. It’s gorgeous and an hour long walk flies by.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset and there is no charge to get in. If I want variety, there’s another paved trail about 20 minutes away that also is mostly in shade. That trail runs along a stream so it not only feels great, it sounds great too.
A park with lots of trees is a great option on those really hot summer days when you’d rather not reach your step goal on a treadmill.
Change Your Wardrobe
What you wear really does have an impact on how you feel when you’re outside walking in the heat. You want to pay attention to fabric and color.
Clothes that are made from synthetic wicking fabric are the best at keeping you cooler. These fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from your body…unlike regular cotton. And, that really does make a difference.
It’s important to wear loose fitting clothes in the heat. The tighter the fit the warmer you’ll feel. You want air to be able to circulate over your skin. That helps keep you cooler.
The color of your clothing also matters since black will absorb the heat while white will reflect it away.
I’m still amazed at the difference I feel between wearing a dark, tight, cotton t-shirt versus a light, loose, synthetic running jersey.
Wake Up Earlier
Summer mornings are the BEST! The world is waking up. The birds are singing. The coffee is fresh. And, the temperatures are significantly lower. If you’re willing to wake up a half hour earlier in the summer you can get in 3,000 steps before the temperature reaches an uncomfortable level.
Because of my work schedule I miss the opportunity for early summer morning walks. But, on vacation I take full advantage. I’m up before everyone else and go for long walks along the ocean as the sun rises. It’s incredible.
It’s my favorite time to walk…early summer mornings. I recommend trying it if you haven’t. It also might change your opinion of summer.
Create a Path
The heat may not keep me from walking outside, but there are weather conditions I don’t like. I’m not a fan of heavy rain or cold, windy days. When that happens, I prefer to get my steps inside. I don’t use a treadmill so I’ve found another option.
I’ve “created” a path around our living room and kitchen. I can walk comfortable circles between these two rooms and get a lot of steps when I need them. There are times when I have a game on TV and watch it as I walk through the living room. There are other times when it’s just me and Alexa. I ask her to play my favorite songs which creates a nice little soundtrack as I get my steps.
Is this fun…walking circles around my kitchen and living room? Not really. I can think of a bunch of things I’d rather be doing. But, sometimes that’s what it takes to keep the commitment I made to reach at least 20,000 steps every single day.
Adjust Your Body’s Internal Thermostat
I grew up in a house without air conditioning. That’s probably why I enjoy summer so much. The windows were always open and I learned to love the sounds, the aromas, and the feel of summer. I also learned how to sleep in hot weather. Sure, I had a fan in my room, but that only cools down the temp so much. There were still those nights when it just didn’t matter.
Because of that, heat and sweat have never bothered me. My childhood summers were magical and I still feel that.
Conversely, I don’t have the same feeling about winter. Sure, I have some great memories of snow days and staying home from school and sledding down the hill, but those memories are few. Now I just find all of that weather intolerable. Maybe that’s the same way you feel about summer.
Interestingly, the past few winters have become less so…intolerable, that is. Oh, it’s just as cold in Maryland and just as snowy, but my step goals have “forced” me to go outside in the cold. (I can only take so many indoor kitchen steps)
I’m learning how to dress better for the cold temperatures. But, more importantly, I’m learning how to find beauty in the winter and how to tolerate the cold. In fact, there were some walks this winter where I even enjoyed the cold. And by cold, I mean temperatures below freezing.
I do wonder how much of what we consider uncomfortable weather is really a product of what we grew up with and our attitudes. In other words, I wonder if it’s possible for you to retrain your internal thermostat to find summer temperatures enjoyable?
It might be worth a try.
Summer is a great season to get outside and ramp up your fitness activities…especially walking. If you’re just finding this blog I’d like to recommend two things.
I recently challenged my readers to take a 90 Day Step Challenge. You can read about that HERE.
Secondly, if you’re looking for motivation to keep moving towards fitness this blog can be a big help. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone…to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get links to each inspiring article the moment it’s published.
Even if you’re not a fan of summer, why not make this the best season of fitness ever!