How to stay fit when heat & humidity slow you down


Hot and tired runners in road

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Summer is in full swing, and you may find yourself slowing down from the effects of the heat and humidity— especially if you live in the South.

Research by The University of Texas at Austin has found that adults are less physically active — and more obese — where summers are hot, especially if they are also humid or rainy.

According to the map below (click on it for a larger view), people who are least active and most obese are in the Southeast, where the summers are hot and wet, while many of the most active, least obese counties are in the mountain West, where summers are cool and dry.

“Living in Texas as I do, the results really resonated for me,” said Paul von Hippel, assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, who wrote the study with doctoral student Rebecca Benson, in a release. “Around June or July here, it starts getting hard to think about going outside for a jog — or even a brisk walk — after work, which is close to the hottest part of the day. You have to come up with a strategy for staying active in the summer."

So what can we do to stay active even though we feel like we're melting into the couch?

Go in the water

What’s more refreshing than water? Swimming pools, particularly indoor pools, are an excellent option, but any local watering hole will do.

Play indoors

Get social and join a co-ed sports league, like ones available at Zogg Sports. Play dodgeball, bowling, hockey, basketball or volleyball with friends at an indoor sports complex in your hometown. The night usually ends with beer, which we heard can be quite refreshing!

Rise & shine

Wake up at the crack of dawn, which is the coolest part of the day, and go out for a run, walk or bike ride. Research shows that a morning workout is best for weight loss.

"Morning exercisers tend to stick with their exercise habit," Cedric X. Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist of the American Council on Exercise told WebMD. "By doing the bulk of exercise first thing in the morning, you get your exercise in before other distractions can intrude. We can all relate to that — because once the day gets going, it's hard to get off the treadmill called life."

“HIIT” it quick

No need to drag out a hot workout when the sun is blazing overhead. Get down to business and do a quick Tabata, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout — a quick and rigorous workout made up of short bursts of explosive movement followed by a quick (usually 30-second) break. You can even do it at the (air-conditioned) gym, on a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike.

In a previous interview with Hellawella, Nathan Mellalieu, celebrity trainer and owner/trainer at Studeo55, in Vancouver suggests the following exercises:  

Using a spin bike, cycle seated at 90% resistance for three minutes, spin with 40% resistance for one minute and repeat 10 times.

Use elliptical for one minute at level 15, one minute at level eight, and repeat 10 times.

Don’t forget to stay hydrated in these hot months. Check out our list of 5 wearable ways to hydrate while you’re on the move.