Fitness Friday: My sneakers are melting
Yesterday I was stationed at the Delaware State Fair to cover two events, and let me tell you, it was hot.
It was probably the hottest I have ever felt. As soon as cool water passed my lips, it came right back out through my skin as sweat. That's how hot it was.
Fighting a battle with the heat is a battle you will lose. I recommend taking your workout inside with a large bottle of water.
Here is some information from the staff at Mayo Clinic on how heat affects us.
How heat affects your body
Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don't take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature. To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.
Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you sweat heavily and you don't drink enough fluids. The result may be a heat-related illness. Heat-related illnesses occur along a spectrum, starting out mild but worsening if left untreated. Heat illnesses include:
• Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions, mainly affecting the calves, quadriceps and abdominals. Affected muscles may feel firm to the touch. Your body temperature may be normal.
• Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C) and you may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, fainting, weakness and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
• Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. You may develop confusion and irritability. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.
During extreme heat, I think it is time to try something different. Try step aerobics inside in the air conditioning. I know I've said it before, but I will say it again - switching up your workout is a great way to add excitement to the everyday routine. It also startles your muscles and makes them work harder.
Step it up
Most step classes include between 20 and 30 steps during a half hour class. The class leader takes participants through a routine that aims at getting heart rates up to burn calories.
Here is a quick routine you can do at home, if you can't get into a gym.
You will need:
• A low step bench
• Hand weights - in a low weight
• Bottle of water
To start, line up your bench step in front of you, place the hand weights to either side of the bench so you won't accidentally step on them. Place the towel and bottle of water nearby also.
Turn on some jams.
Warm up by stepping up on the bench one foot at a time and alternating feet. Step left onto the bench, then right onto the bench, then step right onto the floor and left onto the floor. Build in intensity for two minutes.
Next keeping the same motion going, add a knee raise. So step left foot onto bench, then lift right knee up at a 90 degree angle before placing it on the bench. Repeat 10 times, alternating knee that is raised.
Keep up the motion, but repeat the first two moves now with hand weights. Repeat 10 times.
Finish with the knee raises and start stepping up while alternating raising each hand up into the air above your head. So step left foot onto bench, left arm into air with hand weight. Switch to right foot up on bench and raise right arm with hand weight. Repeat 10 times.
Pick one of these moves or create your own - depending on skill level - to repeat 10 times at your maximum speed.
Start cooling down by slowing down your speed, setting the hand weights aside and slowing to a single step up and step down.
Grab a drink of water, a swipe of the towel and then do 20 sit-ups and 10 push-ups to finish up your workout. Great job!
Here is a cooling recipe to try out with your family this weekend.
Go-Go Gadget Green Smoothie
1 cup green grapes
1/4 of a large pineapple
One apple, seeds and core removed
2 hand fulls of spinach (can use kale instead)
1-2 cups ice
You can make this in two batches if your blender isn't very powerful. Mine won't process more than a cup of ice at a time, so I just split up the ingredients into two batches and each batch makes two servings. The spinach blends in so it can hardly be noticed - just make sure you blend it for at least 60 seconds to break it up as much as possible.
Serve immediately with a straw and perhaps a pineapple garnish if you are up to it! Yum!
Have a great weekend droolers. See you Monday.