Jump Start a Safe Summer Exercise Plan

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exerciseBy ERIKA SMITH

With the right planning, summer workouts can be anything but routine. Start a new regimen with tips from Erika Smith, a certified personal trainer and fitness specialist at the Lifestyle Center, located on the campus of Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

Always be prepared.  I am a fan of Fitness or Shape magazines. You just need to look at the listed modifications if you are new to exercise. If you have no idea where to start, meeting with a personal trainer for a few sessions can get you on the right track. If you are new to exercise, I suggest visiting a physician before starting a new routine.

It’s never too late for a new beginning.  Many people start exercising with unrealistic expectations and end up either hurting themselves or getting frustrated and quitting their program. I always tell people to start with a goal of 10-15 minutes, three times per week, and increase by five minutes per session per week.

The tortoise wins the race.  Exercising smart is my best advice for taking on the summer heat. Start out slow and work your way up, stay hydrated, and warm up and cool down. Any exercise involves risks, especially when you are outside in the heat. Walking is a great option if you do not want to overdo it.

The possibilities are endless. There are a multitude of summer workout options. But if you want to try something different, swimming, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding and surfing are great options. The more varied your choices, the more likely you will be to stick with it.

You can be too hot to trot.  Morning and evening are the best times for summer exercise. That way you are avoiding the prime sun times and the higher temperatures and humidity levels. I would avoid exercising between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. I also suggest joining a gym so you have the option to exercise indoors.

Don’t dress to impress.  Wear lightweight, light-colored and breathable clothing when exercising in the summer heat.  You don’t want to wear any heavy fabrics that will keep the heat in and therefore increase your core body temperature.

The more water the merrier.  Stay hydrated by drinking water whether you are thirsty or not. Your body can only absorb 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes, so it is difficult to tell if you are fully hydrated. If you must consume sports drinks, dilute them so your body will absorb them more easily.

Screen yourself.   Sunscreen is more important than you think. If you are exercising outside for 30 minutes, your body is exposed to the sun’s rays for that amount of time, which can result in a sunburn or worse. Be sure to use broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, and apply it to all exposed skin, including the nose, ears and scalp.

Erika Smith is an American Fitness and Aerobics Association-certified personal trainer. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in health promotion from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. She has been a fitness specialist at the Lifestyle Center for six years. For information about membership, personal training or classes at Chesapeake Regional’s Lifestyle Center, call 757-312-6132.

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