Time to start getting serious about summertime. No, I’m not talking about beach bodies, either. I’m talking about the stressors that make summertime exercise outdoors more challenging. The best way I’ve found to do that is to start preparing in May, and I’m usually pretty ready for anything once June & July hit. (By August, I’m ready for snow – but that’s just me!)
- FEET! (Not pedicures, your *actual feet*.) Your feet have more chances to hang out and breathe right now, so give some foot exercises a try. They’ll improve a number of factors in your workouts, including how engaged your brain is with activity, so they’re well worth the effort. There is also a fair amount of research suggesting that if you’re a flip-flop wearer who clenches their toes to “hang onto” your sandals, you might be negatively affecting your feet & lower legs, in terms of tightness, toe/heel pain or discomfort. If you think it might be an issue – switching to a sandal with a heel strap could make a big difference for you.
- Get walking – but do it OUTDOORS. Spend some time thinking about whether you could incorporate more outdoor walking into your routine. Research has shown repeatedly that the benefits of walking outdoors not only occur in the area of stress reduction, there are also immune-boosting benefits simply in being outdoors. Even a city park can provide a dose of nature – you don’t have to live in the country or drive very far. Treadmills are fine for times of day when it’s not safe to walk outside, or it’s raining, too cold, or just too dark. But the benefits of outdoor walking are significant.
- If you have very little time for exercise, but want to make the biggest changes in your comfort level and conditioning, start weight training. If you don’t have any musculoskeletal issues preventing you from picking up heavy things and then putting them down again over & over, this makes the biggest difference. And if you’re able to do full-body moves, they’ll give you bigger changes than working a single body area, like your arms. Think of a farmer’s carry instead of tricep/bicep exercise sets.
That’s it for now – I’ll be adding some more tips this coming week, and if you need personalized ideas – get in touch!