When the sun is out and the birds are chirping, it can be hard not to jump straight into your exercise routine – we get it, and we are excited too! Whatever you do, don’t let this hot weather fool you into skipping out on a proper warm-up and cool-down routine.
Follow along as we discuss the best warm-up and cool-down routine for summer, how to do it, and why it’s important (even when you don’t want to).
Factors to Consider When Exercising in the Heat
Exercising in the heat of the summer can put a ton of stress on our bodies. Without proper consideration of the heat, it can put you at serious risk of injury or even illness!
Some of the most heat-related common issues include:
- Heat cramps – painful, involuntary muscle spasms that typically occur during bouts of moderate-to-heavy exercise in hot environments.
- Heat exhaustion – this can arise during longer, more strenuous bouts of exercise in hot environments causing nausea, weakness, headaches and possibly fainting.
- Heatstroke – when heat exhaustion is left untreated, it can advance to heatstroke which can be a life-threatening emergency condition.
Fortunately, two of the best ways to avoid these issues is by starting and finishing your workout the right way… with a proper warm-up and cool-down routine!
The Importance of Warming up and Cooling down in the Summer
Getting our minds and bodies prepared for activity is key to preventing injury — especially in the heat!
A warm-up is an essential part of any workout. Although the temperatures are high and you may already “feel warm” when you step outside, a warm-up is still crucial to your workout – here’s why!
- It gradually exposes us to higher temperatures which are less alarming or intense on our minds or bodies
- It improves muscles and neural activation to prepare our bodies for work
- It helps lengthen or “warm-up” our joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles to prevent injury
An optimal warmup routine includes a range of low-intensity dynamic stretching. Unlike static stretching where you hold a position for a period of time, dynamic stretching keeps your body in motion through a joint’s full range of motion.
Note: Although the goal is to prepare our bodies for activity, research recommends a shorter than normal routine to limit a sudden rise in our body temperature and minimize the chance of dehydration.
Here are some summer warm-up exercises you can try:
- 10-20 jumping jacks
- 10-20 bodyweight squats
- 20 arm circles (forwards and backwards)
- 1-2 minutes jump rope
- 3-5 minutes slow jog
Cooling down after working in high temperatures is an essential step in recovery. A cool-down is intended to bring your body temperature down, slow your heart rate, regulate blood flow, and prevent cramping or muscle stiffness caused by lactic acid buildup.
In this case, we recommend static stretching. Find a cool resting spot under a tree or inside to begin your cool-down routine. Begin with the largest muscles first (i.e. quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, etc.), holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Examples of static cool-down exercises in summer weather include:
- Standing bend (upper back and hamstrings)
- Seated butterfly pose (groins)
- Head to knee forward bend (hamstrings)
- Figure four (glutes and IT band)
- Standing knee bend (quadriceps)
- Arm across the body (triceps)
Other ways to cool-down during a hot day include drinking plenty of water, resting a damp cloth on your neck or head, or taking a cool shower.
Over To You
To get the most out of your next summer workout, be sure to spend a little extra time to properly warm-up and cool- down your body! Not only can this help you avoid injury but it can guide you to creating helpful habits necessary to excel on your exercise journey.
Drop us a comment below if you have any questions!