Prepare Your Body for Summer

Can you feel it? The sun is popping its head out from the clouds more often, the murky grey has just about disappeared and there’s no longer any need to wrap up quite as warm when you head outside. Changes in the season are most definitely afoot!

So, as the temperatures are steadily rising, it can mean only one thing – that BBQ and beer garden season is just around the corner and it’s time to prepare your body for summer!

We love the summer time, as it’s a good chance to get a healthy dose of sunshine and feel totally happy as you get outdoors more and have some fun! And the best way to make the most of the summer time is to ensure you’re feeling good inside and out before the warmer months roll around.
So, as you shove those coats, jumpers, scarves, gloves and woolly hats back into the cupboard for a while and dive into your spring wardrobe, are you casting a wary eye over yourself to make sure you’re looking your best?

Reasons to get fit for summer

If we still haven’t convinced you about the benefits of making some changes to your fitness, here is a list of top ten reasons to get fit for summer and why you should be starting on them now:
• Feel happier
• Have more energy
• Feel less tired
• Increase your range of motion
• Reduce aches and pains
• Look good to yourself and others
• Become healthier
• Boost confidence and self esteem
• Stop clothes feeling tight
• Sleep better

Get Your Summer Body

With the warm weather upon us, many people are switching to more outdoor activities. Adults and children alike are participating in spring sports and early summer activities. With our increase in available daylight, you may be tempted to jump right into activities, but remember, even professional baseball players go through 4-6 weeks of spring training to get ready.  Here are a few general tips to help decrease your chance of overdoing things and preparing your body for participation in the recreational activities you enjoy.

1. Prepare your body for the activity.  Participating in recreational activities only on the weekend will not adequately prepare your body.  If time is limited, aim for at least 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a week, of strengthening and stretching that focuses on targeted muscles groups and general core exercises. Sports like tennis, baseball/softball and swimming require increased attention to shoulder flexibility and strength of the rotator cuff muscles.  To efficiently hit a golf ball, one needs not only adequate shoulder flexibility but also good back and hip range of motion. Runners need to not only focus on muscles of the hips and legs but also good core stability.

2. Don’t increase your level of activity too quickly.  Your body will have a better opportunity to adjust and positively adapt to increasing load and demands if your training increases slowly.  The general rule of thumb is a 10% increase per week. For example, if you have not run all winter, start off with some walk-run intervals instead of trying to start where you left off.  Your body will also need adequate rest.

3. Differentiate between pain and soreness.  Exercising through pain can lead to increasing trauma.  Conversely, adequate stress to muscles may lead to normal muscle soreness and fatigue 24-48 hours of the activity.

4. Stay hydrated.  Be sure to drink fluids before and during activities. Generally, aim for 1-2 glasses of water before an activity and then 6 to 8 ounces every 20 or 30 minutes during the activity.  If you anticipate more than 45 minutes of intense activity, you may need a drink that has electrolytes, such as a low sugar sports drink. Some people don’t realize how much they “sweat” swimming, so no matter your sport, keep drinking!

Get Your Summer Nutrition

Making sure your body is healthy and ready to perform at its best during these next few months is something that should not be taken lightly. What you put into your body can be the difference between a crisp, sharp performance and a sluggish one

  • Limit foods that you’d normally see as a “treat.” This could be ice cream, strawberry shortcake or your mom’s famous fried chicken. Things that are heavy in fat and sugar will not provide your body with the energy it needs to perform, especially in the summer heat.
  • Break out the grill. When the weather is nice, it isn’t hard to convince people to have a barbeque. But stay away from burgers, hot dogs and brats. Toss chicken breasts, veggies or turkey burgers on the grill. These alternatives will taste great and keep you on the right path.
  • Take advantage of fruit. It’s summer. Ripe fruit can be found all over. Use blueberries, bananas and more to give your body the fuel it needs for physical activity. Fruits are a quick and easy snack that will fill you up and keep you healthier than a bag of chips or side of fries would.
  • Make drinking water a habit. Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when the temperature and intensity of your workouts are up. Carrying a bottle of water or a jug with you all day will keep your body in a spot where it will be able to do its job when needed.