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Our monthly health series is authored by Patrice Cahill – Fitness Director at Aviv Centers for Living.
Summer of 2012 has been a strange one so far.    Not too long ago there were days and days of cold wet rain and last week we had record hitting high temperatures as well as humidity!  This fluctuating crazy temperature situation not only made it difficult to plan vacations and the like but even what to wear but the saddest thing in my book was the fact that most people’s fitness programs were affected.   When it’s cold and rainy, muscles tend to get sore more easily, arthritis “acts up” and most athletes realize that this is probably normal but still very frustrating.  On very hot and humid days, strength is also affected but even more serious is the threat of heat exhaustion or dehydration.  So what’s an athlete to do?  Let me help you!
Below I have compiled a list of what I believe is a good “tips to follow” list that should be followed each and every day but most particularly, when the weather is not deemed perfect.    However no matter what time of year that you start your fitness program, always consult your physician before starting.

  1. Continue to eat healthy!  When the weather gets hot, eating naturally decreases and for any fitness buffs, the body needs the energy to be able to do the workout that is required.  Keeping your intake of food as normal as you can is the right way to accomplish this!
  2. Wear clothes that breathe… natural cotton or fitness wear that helps keep skin dry and comfy are the best options.  Loose fitting capris or shorts and cotton tee shirts or tank tops are good ideas when exercising in the warmer months.  Don’t overdress and always dress for the weather.  Layers are a very good idea, that way whether or not it’s hot or cold, you can add or take off layers of clothing to be at your best!  ( a fine looking hat that keeps the sun off your head and face is always in fashion for fitness).
  3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!  Hydration is important at every time of the year but holds more importance as the days grow warmer.  We loose moisture from our bodies through increase sweating and sometimes by just being active in the heat – you must keep your body hydrated with water throughout the day.  Water is best since Caffeinated and fruit juices can interfere with hydration, medical conditions and/or medications.
  4. Exercise at certain times of the day if the weather proves too warm during “peak” hours.  Try to get walking or any cardio program done early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not at its highest point and the climate cools down a bit.
  5. If you are planning on walking in a park or recreational area, make sure there is some shade (trees, cabana or gazebo) and benches/chairs that will allow you to rest when you need to as you do your exercises.
  6. If you can’t exercise outside due to the conditions of the weather – join a fitness class in any of the local facilities that offer senior fitness classes.  Cooler temperatures indoors (air conditioning and fans) will help to keep participants comfortable as they go through their workout.  Be sure the facility has a certified senior fitness professional conducting the class, and don’t hesitate  to ask them for a copy of the certification!
  7. If you don’t live near any facility that has classes, use your food shopping or mall time to get in some walking!  Most (if not all) stores do have air-conditioning at this time of year and going up and down the aisles (even if you don’t have to buy anything) is a great way to get in extra steps into your routine and be cool at the same time!

Some of the above tips may seem like common sense but I find that if I have certain things I have to do by making a list, the tasks are done more easily and get checked off one by one.  So my fitness seniors, think of the above tips are your Fitness List for the Summer (or all year long which is what I am hoping you will do)!