Fit tips for fun in the sun

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First Posted: 6/16/2014

With summer heating up across NEPA, maybe you will be participating in some familiar – or a few not so familiar – outdoor activities. Being active outdoors is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape while soaking in some of nature’s Vitamin D.

If your day job is spent behind a desk and you typically only get outdoors on the weekends, be careful not to overdo it. Most people have demanding lives, and many have huge blocks of free time on the weekends. Here are some tips on how to avoid weekend warrior injuries while making the most of your summertime fun.

1. Warm up: Before heading out to the golf course or to the outdoor track, be sure to do a thorough full-body warm-up. Proper warm-ups do not eliminate the chance of injury, but they increase the likelihood of maintaining a healthy body.

2. Drink fluids: Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water; by then, your body is somewhat dehydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and especially after you exercise. Sports drinks are not necessary unless you are engaged in multiple hours of exercise at one time. Check out the sodium content on some of those labels!

3. Vary your routine: One way to prevent injury is to vary the exercise you do. Going for a run may be a no-brainer if it’s nice outside, but repeating the same exercise on a daily basis, using the same muscles over and over, will put you on the road to injury. Consult your local trainer for ways to switch up your routine.

4. Moderation: Just because you have the time to exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you should be exercising for hours at a time. Be mindful of the time spent training outdoors and keep your ego in check. Challenging your 12-year-old neighbor to a game of hoops in the blazing sun may sound appealing, but…

5. Cool down: After you finish your workout, be sure to cool down. Cooling down slowly brings your heart rate back to baseline at a safe and comfortable level. When exercise suddenly stops, blood pooling may occur, which can cause swelling and even pain.

To ensure your summertime fitness counts, be mindful when eating at summer picnics. Don’t be counterproductive. Summer is a great time to eat healthy meals, and using fresh ingredients adds a lot of flavor without all the fat.

If you’d like to add some sizzle to your summer outdoor activity roster, be sure to check out what Leverage Fitness Studio has to offer, including boot camps and summer incentive and recipe exchange programs.

-Tim Hlivia is the owner of Leverage Fitness Studio in Forty Fort.