5 Quick Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat
Summer is finally here! For many of us that means FINALLY getting to go outside and do all the outdoors-y activities we couldn’t do earlier in the year.
If you are a walker and participating in a walking or activity program, you may be excited at the prospect of getting your steps in outside instead on the treadmill or at the gym.
Still, summer can also mean extreme heat and humidity. These things can make it tough to spend any time outdoors without getting sunburn, heat stroke or experiencing dehydration—let alone regular exercise. Exercising, to some degree, in the heat is normally safe for most people. Nevertheless, putting a few safeguards in place will help you keep cool and prevent heat associated problems.
Keep Alert for Danger Signs from Your Body
Usually, your body cools off when sweat evaporates off your skin. However, when heat and humidity rise, sweat isn’t able to disappear as fast as it would under other normal circumstances. Hot weather and high body temperature combined with exercise can be unsafe and even deadly.
Let’s face it: We aren’t like the heroes in our favorite movies. For these characters, it seems like they can keep going no matter the weather or the temperature. We’re normal people. That means we need to pay attention to the signs. If your body gets overheated it can cause physical symptoms like faintness, muscle cramps, dehydration, light-headedness, confusion, rapid heart rate and headache. If neglected, becoming overheated, can lead to unconsciousness, vomiting, trouble breathing and the inability to sweat. All of these are signs of heat stroke and require urgent medical attention.
All that being said, we don’t have to give up or just not exercise because it’s hot outdoors. Remember, we wanted it to warm up specifically for this reason!
Check Out These 5 Tips to Help You Beat the Heat:
1. Get a Check Up and a Thumbs Up from Your Doc. Newbies to fitness, working out or even those who are used to working out but who may be taking any medications, should check with their physician or medical professional before working out or exercising in the summer heat. There are some medications that could possibly weaken your body’s ability to normalize temperature.
2. Protect Your Skin and Wear Suitable Clothing. Cotton does not wick away moisture as well as loose-fitting polyester/cotton blends. These or synthetic fibers designed especially for wicking during exercise are your best choices. Don’t forget to generously apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher. We recommend you use an oil-free formula. Oil-free formulas are less likely to interfere with your body’s ability to cool down. Many people also like to choose a wide brimmed hat to shield their face from the sun.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. This is super important. Remember to keep drinking water before, during and after your exercise routine or even when hanging out and playing games, being involved in water sports or other outdoor recreation. Try switching to a sports drink with electrolytes if you exercise for more than an hour at a time.
4. Time of Day and Air Quality Awareness. If you live in areas where there can be high levels of smog or your city publicizes smog alerts, be sure to check these before heading outdoors for exercise. It’s wise to decrease the intensity of your workout level on days with extreme heat and high smog.
When it comes to time of day – remember that early in the morning or early evening times are often the coolest parts of the day. In some southern states, it doesn’t cool down til well after 8:00 pm at night so factoring in how much light you’ll need may become an important component in your exercise schedule.
5. Check Your Heart Rate and Keep Alert for Danger Signs. While you are exercising, monitor your heartbeat. If your intensity level increases and exceeds your target range, don’t push it during extreme heat. It’s best to slow down to avoid further heat related stress. Use common sense and keep alert for any of the danger signs we mentioned above.
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Going on vacation is not an excuse to stop eating healthy. With a bit of planning, you can still eat healthy and not feel deprived. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Plan your food splurges like you plan your souvenir budget.
- Make your meals part of your itinerary, slow down and enjoy the experience.
- Vacations are a special one-time deal, so go ahead and sample exotic tastes, but do it in moderation.
- Save room for local delicacies later in the day and never deprive yourself of a taste.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are comfortable.
- Pack healthy snacks or keep a list of suggestions to help make better choices (see snack ideas below).
- Don’t be shy in restaurants, ask how the food is prepared. Most restaurants are more than happy to help you make a healthy selection.
- Eat breakfast every day. Shop the night before and get a banana, whole grain cereal and milk; store it in your hotel refrigerator for a leisurely meal in the morning.
- Drink water. Drink water. Drink water. Have a bottle with you at all times and keep it filled. If traveling by car, keep a case in the trunk.
- Remember to walk – it’s your secret weapon.
For ideas on planning a walking vacation, checkout last Monday’s Move! in the Walkingspree blog.
Here are a few ideas to get you started. Share your travel and snack tips with us in the comment section below or post them on our Facebook page.
- Fruit like bananas, apples, grapes … the list is endless.
- Cut up veggies
- String cheese – look for low-fat
- Unsweetened applesauce packs
- Salsa with sliced cucumbers instead of chips
- Box of raisins
- Nuts in single serving packets
- Fat-free microwave popcorn (for the hotel room)
- Granola bars (check the calories)
- Whole wheat pretzels
- Graham crackers
- Whole grain crackers
- Animal crackers
- Instant oatmeal
Little Changes Lead to a Healthier Eating Style
Most people aren’t born knowing how to pick the right foods to eat. They usually model the behavior of the adults and people around them. As a rule, we tend to eat in the style and patterns that our families do. If mom made pot roast every Sunday and chicken fried steak on Fridays, you might choose to carry on that tradition.
When we asked around at the Walkingspree headquarters, we learned that there are some eating styles that don’t necessarily have to do with a food tradition but a habit. For example, one of our account managers said that her family would eat in front of the television every night. Most of us have eaten (at some point) in front of the television. Some families even consider it “together time” or “family time.” This can work against your health and nutrition in more than one way. If you are just focusing on the television, mindlessly eating, you may keep eating after you are full; resulting in a pattern of overeating. For some children, a bright screen playing a show in front of them is enough to make them drop everything and not eat their dinner at all. Later that evening, they will tell their parents that they are hungry and ask for a snack which is often something unhealthy.
The marketing manager at Walkingspree reported that growing up, her parents always stopped at the convenience store on the corner to get soft drinks before completing errands, going to visit grandma and they would even stop at the same store for another drink on the way home. As an adult, she found herself doing these things with her children: Stopping for a slush at the local Sonic, grabbing a soft drink out of the coolers in the grocery store and, of course, it was a rule that every time she passed a certain BBQ joint, she needed to stop for sweet tea.
Little Changes Lead to Big Results
What eating patterns or habits are comfortable to you simply because you grew up with them? We all have them and they don’t just go away unless we identify them. The marketing manager in the paragraph above chose to stop drinking regular sodas and switch to diet sodas. It was tough. All her life, for as long as she could remember, she’d drank several Dr. Peppers or Cokes per day. So, it was a very conscious commitment to be healthier. She decided to go for a walk 3-4 times a week. It was usually not more than 30 minutes and involved playing with her son and their dog. Still, it was being active and that counted in a big way! One year later, she was 35 pounds lighter. No strict diet involved. A year after that, she felt that diet sodas were not good for her health either. So, she dropped the diet sodas to become soft drink free. Does it mean her diet is 100% on track now? No. Getting healthier is about making small changes over time. Her kids still ask for soft drinks and colas in the check out line (but not nearly as often) and they accept it easily when she says “not this time.” They are making small changes little by little just like their mom.
We’re here to tell YOU that making small changes works!
Whether its one change at a time in your eating habits or one step at a time in a walking program, don’t get down on yourself and don’t give up.
Below is a short video about a single parent trying to make the best choices for her family. Her thoughts on changing eating patterns and how to do it are real and genuine. It’s something real people living real lives, with crazy, stress filled schedules can appreciate. Check it out by clicking the picture below and if you want to see other helpful, short videos like this one, be sure to visit www.choosemyplate.gov/videosLeave a Comment »
Memorial Day Origins
Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.” In the USA, we know it as a day of remembrance for all the brave men and women who have died serving and protecting our nation
No one is quite sure where, when or whom is responsible for beginning the observance but well over two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. Although Waterloo N.Y. was formally confirmed the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s problematic to prove exactly how the day was created or conceived.
No matter the exact date or whereabouts of its origins, it’s clear that Memorial Day rose from the ashes of the Civil War and loved ones wanting to honor the sacrifice of our dead soldiers. On May 5 1868, General John Logan, who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, stated “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” The date of Decoration Day, as he referred to it, was selected because it was not the anniversary of any other particular battle.
The very first Decoration Day was observed formally at Arlington National Cemetery. 5,000 people gathered to decorate the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. General James Garfield was present and gave a stirring speech.
In 1873, New York became the first state to formally recognize and observe Memorial Day. By 1890, all northern states observed the holiday. Southern states declined to recognize the day, honoring their dead separately until after World War I . It was also after the Civil War that Memorial Day became a day to honor both those who died fighting in the Civil War and those Americans who gave the ultimate sacrifice during any war.
These days, nearly every state observes Memorial Day on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day Red White and Blue Parfait
- 12 ounces plain greek yogurt
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 -1/2 cup your favorite granola
How to Prepare
You know the feeling. You find yourself in front of the vending machine or an open refrigerator door looking for something to eat. You need a snack.
Easy Ways to Combat Snack Attacks
Actually, snacks can be good for you and are an effective weight management tool. If you are satisfied throughout the day you are less likely to over eat at meals or to binge on a midnight ice cream raid.
When choosing your snacks, look for ones that contain about 100-200 calories. Also, choose snacks that will fill in food group gaps, like an apple for a fruit serving, a yogurt for dairy. You get the idea.
Plan your snacks: Make a list and purchase health snacks you enjoy.
Plan your snack time: If you normally scrounge for something to eat at 3 in the afternoon, set your computer or phone alarm for 2:45 p.m. Take a quick 10 minute walk and then enjoy your pre-planned snack.
Keep snacks handy: Put them in your drawer at work, in your purse or glove box in your car. One person I know puts pre-planned snacks in labeled lunch bags, one for each day of the week.
Take your time: Slow down and enjoy your snack. Move away from your desk and never, ever eat while you are watching TV.
Don’t drink your calories: Beware of high calorie beverages like sport’s drinks, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Pick water instead, and if you need a bit of flavor, add a squirt of lemon or lime juice. Adding a teaspoon of sugar (about 15 calories) is a much better choice than a 12 oz. can of Coke (140 calories, about nine teaspoons of sugar!)
Check out the list below, choose the ones you like and spread them out over the next week. Be creative and share your ideas with us on our Facebook page.
Box of raisins
Fruits such as bananas, grapes, or an apple
Cut-up veggies like broccoli, carrots
Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts
Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn
Granola bars (check the calories)
Baked tortilla chips and salsa
Low fat cottage cheese
Cereal and milk
Frozen fruit bars
Chocolate milk (low fat)