The summer is a great time for physical activity - be it playing a sport, an aerobic exercise routine, or just returning to that old jogging path.
"Exercise is the fountain of youth and summer is the perfect time to re-connect with your body," says Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
According to Dr. Andersen, the following tips may help make your summer physical activity a more successful one:
- Have a chat with your doctor before beginning or changing an exercise regimen.
- When it gets too hot, do it indoors; exercise in a cool place that has air-conditioning. Extreme temperatures can alter the body's circulation, raise your heart rate, and make breathing harder.
- Remember to stretch. Even in the summertime, our bodies need to warm up. As you are exercising, take time to work on breathing and posture -- improving these will greatly enhance your health.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Throughout your workout routine it is important to drink plenty of water, even before you feel thirsty. If you are prone to lightheadedness (from low blood pressure), are an endurance athlete, or over age 75, you should replenish your "electrolytes" as well -- having a little salt can be important for you.
- Try maintaining an even body temperature. After your workout do not take extremely hot or cold shower, or a sauna, as these can increase the workload on your heart.
- Remember that during the hottest weeks of the summer the coolest times to exercise during the daytime are either very early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
- Apply sunscreen. Your body's ability to cool itself will be undermined if you have sunburn. Always remember to apply sunscreen to your entire body every morning.
- Take it slow. Start your exercise regimen slowly and pace yourself throughout the workout, including plenty of time for breaks and to drink fluids.
- Have fun. Taking time to exercise is taking time for you. Enjoy it -- smile, breathe deeply and clear your mind. Exercising to music is mood and energy enhancing, but if you are outside wearing headphones, Pay Attention!
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center
Adapted by Christian Nordqvist