The summertime opens many opportunities for heart-healthy activities, but beating the heat can be a challenge without a careful approach. No matter the weather, staying active and conscious of your cardiovascular health is important, but working out in the heat has its dangers.
When you’re out in the sun all day, particularly in the heat of the day between noon and 3 p.m., heat exhaustion and dehydration can zap you quickly. That said, there are plenty of innovative ways that you can keep your heart active while avoiding or lessening the most intense heat of the summer.
Here’s a list of seven activities to get you moving while keeping the worst of the heat at bay:
1. Swimming - Indoors or Outdoors
Swimming provides a powerful combination of aerobic movement and resistance training that helps keep your heart active. While hydration is still important, both indoor and outdoor pools offer a welcome reprieve from the heat and don’t restrict you to a particular time of day.
Whether waking up for a morning swim, swimming midday or enjoying an evening swim, swimming is one of the easiest ways to stay cool and active on a flexible schedule.
Sure, shopping might not be near the top of people’s list if you have them rattle off their first few ideas of cardiovascular activities. Nevertheless, it always feels good to work towards your heart-health goals while enjoying a day or half-day of shopping. Unless you’re at an outdoor bazaar, you’ll be safe from the heat, too.
Whether you’re in a mall or a supermarket, the amount of walking you achieve can add up quickly. Especially if you’re planning to shop for more than your groceries for the next couple of days, walking more than a mile or two is not out of the question.
3. Attend Your Local Gym or Recreation Center
While this is one of the more obvious cardiovascular activities, it’s still a great choice if you want to improve your heart health without worrying about the heat. The only deterrent might be the cost of using the facility, but there is a wide range of membership costs depending on your goals, needs, or financial situation.
Whether you’re interested in an aerobics class, walking or running on the treadmill, pulling on a rowing machine, or building muscle with free weights, you can’t go wrong with your options as they all provide benefits to your heart.
4. Body Weight Exercises and Cardio at Home
Whether taking advantage of walking/running your stairs (if you have two stories), performing dips, pushups, or crunches, it’s always possible to create a moderate-to-intense workout session for yourself in a safe, relatively cool environment.
As an additional benefit, any cardio workouts you develop at home can easily be transferred if you’re on the go. Whether you’re out on a summer vacation or you have some spare time in your hotel room, having a workout in your pocket allows you to care for your heart with minimal equipment available.
5. Take a Dancing Class
Keeping your heart healthy while learning a new skill is always a plus. Taking a regular dance class, of any genre, is an incredible way to give yourself a great cardiovascular workout. It’s also worth mentioning the safety of a dance studio will shelter you from the heat.
Dance classes can also be a fun way to involve friends in your heart-healthy activity. Take your own dance partner and keep your hearts healthy together!
6. Morning Hiking or Biking
It isn’t summer if the outdoors is left entirely out of the picture, taking the morning to go on a hiking excursion or a biking trip can give you the fix you need to enjoy the summer without facing the worst of the heat. Remember that the heat is most intense from noon to 3 p.m., so avoiding intense activity during that window is recommended.
If you’d rather row for real than on a machine, summer kayaking can be an exceptionally fun way to get some intense cardio out on the water. As with the other outdoor cardio, be sure to avoid the hottest part of the day if you can. Additionally, you should both hydrate and keep your skin protected from UV rays (the water will reflect them).
Beat the Heat, Help Your Heart
While the summer heat can be brutal, don’t let it deter you from keeping your heart as healthy as possible. Regular cardio workouts, even for just 30 minutes a day, can help lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise can also reduce stress, allowing you to better enjoy the summer season.
To learn more about heart disease or to schedule a heart scan and learn the state of your health, reach out to us today at (918) 879-6161.