HOW TO GET A COOL 10,000 STEPS WHEN THE TEMPS SOAR
It feels good to work out in your air-conditioned Curves, right? But getting in your steps outside when the mercury pushes 30, 35 C? Just the thought of sweat dripping down your front is enough to make you turn back at the threshold of your door, grab your summer novel, and plop on the couch. With these tips, a walk will win over the couch any day:
Carry a frozen water bottle.
Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently found that exercising women whose palms were cooled felt far less sweaty and exhausted and were able to work out harder and last longer on the treadmill than those whose palms remained hot. To mimic the study conditions, grasp a frozen water bottle while you walk and sip from it as it melts. You should stay cooler and be able to walk longer.
Walk real early.
“Many people think the evening is the coolest time of day, but actually, it’s coolest early in the morning, just before sunrise,” says Stacey Snelling, Ph.D., associate professor at American University’s School of Education, Teaching, and Health in Washington, D.C. “If your schedule will not accommodate an early morning workout, wait until at least 5 p.m.”
Take a walk on the wild side.
Think shade. Just keeping the sun off your shoulders helps you stay cooler. Head for a local shade-tree-filled city park, or better yet, search out a trail through the woods, which offers bonus benefits: The Japanese call it forest bathing, and studies have shown that walking in the woods - an excellent stress reducer - may also fight cancer. Here’s why: Plants emit a chemical called phytoncides that protects them from rotting and insects. When people breathe it in, they appear to experience an increase in the body’s natural killer cells, part of the immune response to cancer.
Step into the pool and keep stepping.
It’s an excellent alternative to land roving, because water offers more resistance - and, therefore, a more intense workout - than air. Start with, say 10 to 15 minutes of slow walking in waist-deep water, and build to 30-plus minutes of brisk walking in waist- to chest-deep water. Walk as you would on land - not on your tiptoes - and keep your back straight and stomach muscles taut. To add intensity, take long strides, lift your knees, and swing your arms (which should be fairly straight, not bent at the elbow), positioning your hands so that your palms are perpendicular to your body and add resistance as you move through the water.
Wear a loose, lightweight sleeveless top made with moisture-wicking fabric that pulls sweat away from your skin and helps it evaporate faster. Choose light, quick-drying shorts. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses and don’t forget to slather on sunscreen.