As Memorial Day approaches, generally accepted as the kick-off to summer (even in Grand County!), prepare for the fun and challenges of summer by following these seven summer fitness strategies. These strategies may keep you on track avoiding some of the common summer pitfalls such as just playing outdoors and not performing your regular workout program leading to potential loss of fitness level and challenges with weight management. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Strategy #1 As mentioned in the introduction, commit to your regular fitness program throughout the summer. You may need to change the time or days to accommodate visitors, vacations and outdoor activities; however, you will be a very happy camper come September when you have remained fit and will not miss a step in the months that follow.Strategy #2 Avoid changing your dietary regimen other than to include vegetables and fruits that are only available in the summer months. Choose to stay on track, enjoy your outdoor barbeques and reunions, but determine which day or two may be a “goof” off day and then stick to the program the remainder of the week. It is not what we consume on one day that matters as significantly as what we consume daily.
Strategy #3 Walk or bicycle everywhere possible—even better, to the gym for your workouts! Expending a few extra calories and enjoying the beautiful weather is a double bonus.
Strategy #4 Try a new activity this summer. If you are an avid hiker, that is wonderful; however, how about swimming, kayaking or sailing this summer? If you are a hard-core summer cyclist, this year, think of trail running or playing tennis to provide your body with some weight-bearing exercise since cycling is predominately non-weight bearing. Apply the cross training principle even when “playing” outdoors!
Strategy #5 Encourage others to join you in your summer fitness pursuits. Maybe this is the year to take on a fourteener. If so, make certain to train for this event to ensure you are fit and ready for this challenge by researching the journey, accompanied by those also prepared and pay attention to the duration of this challenge and the potential afternoon weather that may be an issue. Hire a certified, qualified and experienced trainer to prepare you and your team!
Strategy #6 Tackle the outdoors well prepared with the gear necessary to ensure safety and fun. Prepare for hikes wearing the proper footwear, sunscreen, bring along additional outer wear if the weather suddenly changes, water, snacks, sunscreen, hat and cell phone. Also, when you are embarking on an adventure, tell a loved one where you will be so that someone is aware of your location.
Strategy #7 Avoid over-reaching and over-training this summer. Over-reaching is when you attempt an activity that you have not adequately trained for or may not have the physical capability to safely perform. Over-training is not allowing the body time to rest and recover between training sessions, whether inside or out. Recovery, as mentioned many times in this column, is when the body repairs and grows. Consequently, although hiking daily may sound like a feasible activity to pursue, you do need rest from that specific stressor on the body. *Check out strategy #4!