Fitness Strategies for Summer Fun


Women’s Weight Loss Program Approach – Avoiding the Pitfalls

Summer — there’s no better time to start a physical activity program! For those of us who live in colder climes, summer’s warm weather offers a wealth of opportunities for being physically active, or for varying our regular physical activity routine. For those of us who have been putting off getting going with a physical activity program, we couldn’t ask for a more inviting environment! And while some of us may feel tired and think we can’t add another thing to our busy routines, moving our bodies regularly surprisingly helps us feel invigorated and gives us more energy.

Try these tips for getting started, or to add interest to your usual routine. And remember, weekends and vacations are perfect for exploring new fun activities without the interference of our regular busy schedules.

  • Explore surrounding mountains or city parks and zoos.
  • Combine hiking or walking with a captivating environment.
  • Take a little extra time and walk or bike to routine errands – make that trip to the drug store or post office fun and refreshing!
  • Pack a lunch for work (try our recipe for Tarragon Chicken Salad!) and walk to a nearby park bench or other pretty spot. Not only will you get exercise, but it can be a good way to relieve the stress of a busy morning at the office.
  • Pair up with a buddy and after lunch, take a quick walk around the block or your workplace grounds. Wear your pedometer, to benefit from the motivating power of immediate feedback about how your steps are adding up.
  • Vary regular indoor activity routines such as step aerobics or walking/jogging with outdoor activities. Try swimming, biking, canoeing, kayaking!
  • Learn a new activity. Try tennis, golf, rollerblading, sailing!
  • Sign up for a community “Fun Run/Walk” for charity. What a great motivator — no competition, no expectations, no excuses — just doing something positive for yourself, your community and the charity in need.
  • A cooler alternative to walking or jogging is time in the pool with a noodle. It’s fun, easy, playful, easy on joints and muscles, and it gives you all the benefits of aerobic activity without sweating or even getting your hair wet if you don’t want to!

Beating the Heat

  • Summer activity is fun but keeping cool is key. Here are some important reminders about how to avoid overexposing yourself to heat.
  • Wear light-colored, comfortable clothing. Try cotton – it breathes and is easy to care for.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Choose one with a SPF of at least 15; reapply often.
  • When the weather forecast is “extremely hot,” plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon. Or take advantage of the cooler air and daylight savings by eating dinner early and replacing TV time with a neighborhood walk.
  • Drink plenty of water or rehydrating formulas such as sports drinks.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages during extremely hot weather as they increase dehydration.

What Can Happen if You Get Too Much Sun!

In the middle of winter – especially here in Vermont – nothing sounds better than a warm day, walking up the hill at Green Mountain at Fox Run, looking out over the verdant mountains that surround us. But when summer’s actually here, there are a few weeks when the temperature can get in the way of realizing that vision. In your home environment, you may experience the same thing — unless, of course, you live in warm winter climes that make summer something you don’t particularly look forward to. In either case, we can find ourselves sometimes getting overheated. To stay well, watch out for these signs of overexposure to heat. They are more likely to occur if we are not acclimatized to the weather, or are not in good physical condition.

Heat Cramps
These painful muscle spasms in the arms and legs follow strenuous exercise and are sometimes seen in people who are otherwise healthy and in good condition. It is suspected that during heavy activity in warm environments, both salt and water are lost from the body’s tissues, leading to cramps. They are rarely serious or long-lasting. The solution: Rest, allow the body to cool, and drink plenty of water.

Heat Exhaustion
Often called heat prostration or collapse, this is the most common result of overexposure to heat. It characteristically occurs in persons who engage in physical activity in extremely hot, humid weather, and who perspire profusely, losing large quantities of salt and water through the skin. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, loss of appetite and nausea. The skin is cold, clammy and gray, yet the body temperature may be normal.

A person experiencing heat exhaustion should be treated as if they were in shock. The person should be taken out of the warm environment and placed lying on his or her back, with feet elevated. If awake, he or she should be given small amounts of water. Heat exhaustion is usually mild and soon reversed. If the person does not begin to feel better and normal color does not rapidly return, he or she should be transported to the nearest hospital promptly, with feet elevated.

Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the least common but most serious form of heat overexposure. It occurs when the body’s mechanisms for dissipating excess heat are overwhelmed. In the exercising individual, the major mechanism for dissipating heat is sweating. In heat stroke, sweating ceases, and the heat continues to build up in the body.

Persons with heat stroke are usually hot, flushed and dry, with body temperatures exceeding 105°F. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency. Recovery is dependent on the speed with which it is treated. Call 911 and report the problem first; then stake steps to decrease the person’s body temperature. This can be accomplished by covering the person with cool, wet sheets and sponging the body with cool water.

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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