The warm, sunny days of summer are here inviting us to step outside. However, venture out in a 90-degree heat stretch, and it often doesn’t take more than a few steps for our workout-motivation to hit a roadblock. Sweat-drenched and out of breath, the great outdoors can begin to feel not entirely too great when those hot waves start rolling in.
Why does it feel harder to workout in the heat? In summertime temps, your heart must do double duty to keep you up and running (biking, hiking, or even walking). It not only must pump blood to your working muscles but also sends blood to your skin so your body can release internal heat into the environment to help cool itself down. The latter process signals your body to sweat, and as those drops begin to evaporate into the air, will help you feel cooler. However, all of that sweating speeds up your heart rate. It rises three to five beats per minute for every 1% of water loss you experience, making you feel like you’re working out harder than you really are. Profuse sweating also increases your risk for dehydration and heat-related illnesses.
However, if you’re mindful, you needn’t let sizzling temps fizzle out your outdoor workout routines. There are tons of science-backed benefits of exercising outdoors, including everything from increasing energy levels to improving mood to reducing stress, which means you may not want to run inside just yet.
Use the tips below to keep those heat waves from crashing your summer exercise routine.
Wake-up, workout. You lace up your running shoes, get ready to rock and roll, and head out for some quality time with the morning sun. The birds are chirping, your endorphins are flowing, and the day is started on a fresh foot.
For some of us, that’s a challenging vision – the thought of waking up any earlier than needed seems nearly impossible. You’d be surprised, however, at all the benefits a rise and shine workout can bring. Some of these perks are so good you may just find yourself convinced to set your alarm a tad earlier and embrace the morning – for your body’s sake.
Here are our top 5 reasons for sweating it out in the a.m.:
- You’ll kick off the day with a revved up metabolism, meaning you’ll burn off more calories you consume throughout your waking hours. Studies also show that working out in the morning burns 3 x more fat compared to other time slots.
- You won’t have to squeeze it in before happy hour, or worry about rushing a workout in before any of the other outdoor evening activities that abound this time of year.
- You’ll head off to work in a happier, more focused state of mind. That rush of endorphins you get after exercising is proven to enhance your mood and fuel you with extra energy throughout the day. Exercise is also shown to increase your ability to focus and concentrate, which will help you plow through the day and accomplish your goals.
- You’re likely to have better long-term results. Research shows that those who exercise in the morning are more consistent exercisers than those who wait till the afternoon or evening.
- You will sleep better. Studies suggest that wakeup-and-workout’ers sleep better than evening exercisers. Poor quality of sleep can plays a huge role in weight gain, since sleep influences certain hormones that control our appetite. Morning workouts will not only burn calories all on their own, but the improved ZzZ’s they ensue may also help control and reduce your appetite overall.
Fewer scheduling conflicts, improved mood and energy levels, and some quality “you” time…need we say more? Good.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Gear up the night before. Save precious morning minutes by having your workout outfit already picked out, and your music playlist ready for the play button to be pushed. With your gear waiting for you, it’ll make it harder to crawl back into bed once you get up.
- Go to bed earlier. Sounds like a no-brainer, but if you want to be up by 5 or 6 a.m. to train, and feel good about it, a 10 p.m. bedtime will make all the difference.
- Have breakfast waiting for you. What’s better to reward your efforts than an exciting meal to refuel afterwards? Rushing around to fit breakfast in, however, is never fun. Negate that scenario with Overnight Oats, a LifeVest favorite that combines protein-packed yogurt with fiber-filled oats and sliced banana for a side of potassium.
Before you say no, we want to challenge you to one additional a.m. sweat session per week. Whether it’s yoga, a jog/walk, trip to the gym, etc., push yourself through it, and then become mindful of noticing how you feel throughout the rest of your day. You may also notice how it begins to become easier as you make it a routine!