There's lots to love about living in Arizona, but summer may not be one of them if you like to exercise outdoors. As temperatures hit the triple digits, your motivation to continue exercising outdoors — running, hiking and biking — may vanish. Few of us want to sweat that much.
Although it may be tempting, the heat isn't an excuse to give up on exercise — just move your routine indoors. Kindala Owens, an exercise physiologist at the HonorHealth Bariatric Center, offers suggestions to make the most of indoor workouts:
- Don't be intimidated: Does the guy with massive biceps doing curls with 60-pound weights make you feel inadequate? You're not alone. Gyms can be intimidating. But don't let the gym rats scare you off. "It's totally normal to worry what other people at the gym are going to think about you, especially if working out in a gym is new to you," Owens said. "Realistically, others are probably focused on themselves and won't pay too much attention to you."
If you're still feeling some gymtimidation, you may want to consider an alternative gym. HonorHealth cardiac rehab facilities throughout the Valley offer full gym memberships to community members. Call the facility closest to you for details.
- Add resistance: When you transition your workouts from outside to inside, know that time spent on a treadmill or stationary bike isn't equal to time spent on those same activities outdoors. Studies show that lack of air resistance or changes in terrain causes you to expend less energy indoors.
The solution? Add a little resistance on the treadmill or bike to help make up for the lack of air resistance. "When you're moving your workouts indoors, a 1 percent grade will more accurately reflect the energy expended in outdoor running," Owens said.
- Change things up with a group class: Yes, treadmill running can be dullsville, but don't let it kill your motivation. Mix in a spin class, yoga or other group fitness class to ward off boredom. "Not only do group classes keep things interesting, they can also help keep you accountable, help you learn proper technique and try exercises you wouldn't have done normally," Owens said.
- Be careful with weight machines: If you're new to weight training, the weight machines can be tempting, but proceed with caution! They can force your body to lift in unnatural ways. "Some machines are great, but there are others that you want to avoid," Owens said. If you're unsure, a personal trainer or exercise physiologist can help you navigate what works for your body.
- If all else fails, continue your outside routine with caution: "The best exercise routine is one you'll stick to. If that doesn't include indoor exercise, then you have to do what will work best for you," Owens said. If you're going to stay outside, make sure you avoid the hottest times of the day, wear lightweight clothing and listen to your body. Consider swimming and resistance training in the pool as a cool option. Stay hydrated with plenty of water. If exercising for an hour or longer outside, a sports drink may be a better option.
Kindala Owens is an exercise physiologist with the HonorHealth Bariatric Center. Call 480-882-7460 to schedule a consultation.