All posts in Fitness

Is it Too Hot to Exercise?

Y’all, it’s hot outside. It’s really, really hot.

So, what does that mean for those of you who ONLY like to exercise?

Unfortunately, the health risks often outweigh the benefits.

According to Women’s Health magazine, “When you work out in super hot temperatures, your body sweats a lot to cool itself. Then your blood rushes to the skin to cool it, which means there’s less blood in your muscles. That makes your blood pressure drop and your heart rate go up, which can sometimes cause you to feel lightheaded. As your body temperature climbs higher, you might feel nauseous and put yourself at risk for heat stroke, seizures, and heart rhythm problems. Overall, pushing yourself in this kind of heat is just a bad idea.”

When does hot become TOO hot?

When the head index hits 90 degrees, head inside to do your exercises in an air conditioned space. 

And in case you’re curious how the whole heat index thing works, the National Weather Service defines it as:

The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.  This has important considerations for the human body’s comfort. When the body gets too hot, it begins to perspire or sweat to cool itself off. If the perspiration is not able to evaporate, the body cannot regulate its temperature.  Evaporation is a cooling process. When perspiration is evaporated off the body, it effectively reduces the body’s temperature. When the atmospheric moisture content (i.e. relative humidity) is high, the rate of perspiration from the body decreases.  In other words, the human body feels warmer in humid conditions.

While exercise is important, it’s also important to know the limits of your body in this type of weather. Keep that in mind when you step out for a run in the next couple of months!


Beat the Heat and Stay Active This Summer

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re officially in the summer months and IT IS HOT! As the temperatures continue to climb, the opportunity to spend a lot of time outside – whether it’s to workout, take care of your garden or socialize – tends to wane.

So, what do you do if you don’t have a gym membership and it’s too hot to exercise outside? We have some ideas for you!

First, you could wake up earlier in the morning to get a workout in. Temperatures can be as much as 20-25 degrees cooler in the morning than in the full heat of a summer day.

Alternately, you can exercise in the evening! Although not quite as cool as the morning, there’s still a significant difference between the temperature in the evening and in the afternoon.

If your neighborhood has a pool, that’s a great place to get in some water aerobics! Even if you’re doing it by yourself, you’ll be cool and it’s a nice change of pace.

Need some water aerobic tips? Here you go:

And finally, have fun! If you have children in your life, run through the sprinkler or have a squirt-gun and water-balloon fight. When the sun goes down, you could plan a late-night game of flashlight tag or chase fireflies.


Walking Towards Good Health

Do you feel heavy? Sluggish? Out of shape? Generally unwell? If so, go walking!

Sitting is the new smoking, according to James A. Levine, a Mayo Clinic physician, whose now-popular phrase speaks to the way our culture’s sedentary lifestyle is ruining our health.

More than 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Walking is activity that’s great for everyone from you and me to Diana Nyad, the 67 year-old endurance athlete.

She said, “unlike swimming, cycling or running, which require special equipment and can be hard on the body, walking is the perfect way to get fit and improve your well-being. It’s a low-impact activity that almost anyone can do: young, old, fat, thin, rich or poor.”

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

For example, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination

The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.


A Formula for Losing Weight

If you’re trying to lose weight, you may have heard that the key is a formula of 20% exercise and 80% diet.

Although it may not actually be that specific, the formula is accurate: What you eat matters more than how you work it off.

Staying active is absolutely essential to a healthy lifestyle—the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. However, if your goal is specifically to lose weight and you find yourself hitting plateau after plateau, you may be sabotaging yourself via your diet.

According to new data, what you eat is far more important than how active you are when you’re trying to slim down.

Exercise IS important, though. 20 percent is still significant, and the benefits of staying fit range from battling diseases to promoting a longer, healthier life.

Additionally, building more muscle helps to create a higher, more sustained metabolism, even when you’re at rest.

The bottom line is that it’s much easier to eliminate a few hundred calories from your diet than burn a few hundred calories through exercise.

Eating a clean and healthy diet will help you lose weight more quickly than working out a lot. But! You will see better results and achieve bigger goals in the long run if you incorporate exercise as well.


Stretch Your Way to Good Back Health

If you have back pain or you’re looking to prevent back pain, stretching might be a good addition to your daily routine.

Stretching will not only stretch (obviously) your back muscles and soft tissues, but it also lengthens and strengthens them. Stretching also keeps muscles supplied with a healthy blood flow. Blood flow is a key to good overall health, both mentally and physically.

Without stretching, muscles can shorten and become tight. Then, when you want to engage those muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way.

The spinal column and the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that surround it are designed to move. When they don’t move regularly, it can make back pain worse.

The Mayo Clinic has put together a list of 15 quick and easy stretches safe enough to do on a daily basis, which you can find here.

But if you’re more of a visual person, Web MD has a video full of stretches to help improve the pain and function of your back, which can be found here.

And of course, if you’re currently dealing with back pain issues, check in with your doctor or chiropractor before beginning any new stretching or fitness regimes.