Sweating it Out

What are you up to this summer?

After a LONG COLD winter, which some of us were afraid might NEVER end, I am doing everything in my power to enjoy (read: wallow in) the summer heat. And this includes bootcamp.

Because of my new teaching schedule, I can only offer bootcamp classes during the summer. And for some people, exercising outdoors in the heat is not at the top of their to-do list. If you are sensitive to the heat, bootcamp in the summer may not be for you. But if you are healthy, and maintain good levels of hydration, there is no reason for you not to participate!

Thinking of giving an outdoor exercise class a try?

Here are some tips on how to prepare your body (and mind!) for the challenge:

1) Start out slowly. Before you sign up for an hour-long bootcamp experience, or a 5K race, or a Warrior Dash, take some time to acclimate your body to outdoor exercise. Begin by walking daily. Choose a time of day when the sun is not at its peak. Early morning hours are the coolest. Choose a path in the shade when possible. Build up to a couple of miles. When you feel comfortable walking a few miles, begin to alternate light jogging with walking.

2) It is never too early to hydrate! Begin drinking extra water the night before you plan to exercise outdoors. Lay off the booze. Alcohol is dehydrating! Before you head outside, down at least a liter of water. If you plan to exercise for more than one hour, also drink an electrolyte replacement. Gatorade may not be the most natural option, but it does work. There are other brands which contain fewer artificial preservatives and additives. I prefer to take Salt Sticks, a mineral supplement in capsule form. Bring plenty of water with you so you can continuously rehydrate while you exercise.

3) Choose the lightest clothing possible. Cotton is a lovely, natural fabric, but it tends to hold moisture next to your skin and becomes very heavy when wet. I prefer the high-tech wicking fabrics for exercise. Light colors will keep you cooler when you're in the sun. Keep your head covered whenever possible using a light-colored hat with a brim or a bandana. Use sunscreen when necessary to avoid burning.

4) Take breaks if you need them. Don't let your ego get in the way of taking good care of yourself. It is foolish to push yourself so hard that you end up with heat stroke. At the first sign that you feel icky, slow down or stop. (Icky can mean dizzy, nauseous, overly tired, or overheated.) Get into the shade. Pour cold water over your head (to reduce your body temperature.) Drink an electrolyte replacement beverage. If you still feel bad, call 9-1-1. Serious dehydration and/or heat stroke is nothing to mess around with.

Bootcamp classes have become very popular. If you think you'd like to try one of mine, please comment in the section below. I offer bootcamp classes on Wednesday mornings during the summer in Western Howard County, Maryland. I am also available for private bootcamp sessions. Let's get our sweat on!