Summer Fitness & You- Part I

by MPK | June 16th, 2009 | Cardio, Strength Training

huntley-drive-fitnessThrough the cold months of winter and rainy months of spring, many can be heard saying, “Once nice weather arrives I can exercise outside!”  However, this nice weather can turn hot pretty quickly, and outdoor exercise is avoided.  To learn more about summer fitness ideas, I interviewed Dena and Alexis Seletzky, owners of Huntley Drive Fitness, a gym located in Hollywood, California.

Q: Should people utilize a different warm-up routine before a workout that is completed outside on hot day?

A: The most important rule is proper hydration. Your performance and overall experience depend on what you do the day before your workout.  All levels of exercise should begin with a warm-up. On a hot day it’s very important to pay attention to your heart rate; under these conditions, we recommend a slightly longer and less rigorous warm-up. The heart rate monitor is a great tool and will guide you through a hot day . . . as you’ll keep your eye on the number rather than your perceived exertion level. In our experience, exercisers always guess their heart rate to be higher than it actually is.

Q: Is a strength training workout or a cardio workout better in hot weather?

A: This is one of the great fitness myths, and clients ask that question all the time.  Exercisers can overexert themselves in the heat both while doing cardio or strength training. So, one is not better than the other. A heart rate monitor is the best tool. We use the “Rocky Balboa” training-in-the-snow analogy. Our bodies perform longer, burn more calories and develop faster conditioning when we can cool ourselves down adequately. There are exceptions for endurance athletes of course.

Q: Should a different cool-down routine be completed on a hot day?

A: The most important element of a proper cool down is getting the body back to a comfortable breathing and sweating state. It’s ideal to slowly bring your heart rate down by choosing a cool-down like walking and then stretching. It’s also important to use a towel to remove excess sweat and speed the cooling down process. Exercisers should choose a shady area for stretching.  If a person has difficulty cooling down and returning to their resting heart rate, then apply a cold towel to the nape of the neck.  In addition, during cool-down on a hot day it is crucial to re-hydrate … preferably with an electrolyte replenishing drink.

Put these warm-up and cool-down ideas to use.  Check back tomorrow for summer workout suggestions. Don’t forget to visit some of other sites to learn more about hydration, children & summer fitness, and workouts via smartphones.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.