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5 Tips For Outdoor Summer Workouts

It's finally summer! After a hard winter, it's such a relief to see the sun and to be able to enjoy life outdoors.  

In the hottest months, however, the heat can take its toll. Your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin to cool off, but that leaves less blood for the muscles and causes your heart rate to increase. Plus, water doesn't evaporate from the skin as readily if it's humid (Mayo Clinic).  

During pregnancy, many women experience even greater heat intolerance. There is already an increase in blood supply to skin, your resting body heat is higher, and your heart rate rises more easily and rapidly. And you sweat more easily. The pregnant body develops expert ways to reduce internal heat, but pregnant women should still take precautions in the hottest months. And since remaining active is still highly recommended, those precautions become all the more important.  

Here are some tips for staying stay safe, cool, and healthy in the summer months. In truth, they can be helpful whether you are pregnant or not!

Hydrate right away, during, right after your exercise, and throughout the rest of the day - even before you feel thirsty!

Exercising in the heat increases the risk of dehydration, and this is especially dangerous during pregnancy.  Since people experience thirst after they’re already a bit dehydrated, make sure to drink water before thirst develops.  General hydration guidelines recommend that individuals consume at least 17-20 ounces of water two to three hours before exercise, 7-10 ounces of fluid every 10-20 minutes during exercise, and afterwards 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of bodyweight lost during exercise (FitPregnancy). When you’re active, coconut water, orange juice, and sports drinks are especially good for replacing some of the nutrients and electrolytes you lose when you sweat.

Avoid exercising during the hottest times of day - usually between10am-3pm. 

Heat and direct sun are at their peak in the middle of the day. And humidity can also make pregnant women feel tired more quickly.  Early morning strolls will give you the added benefit of having the beautiful and cool morning all to yourself since fewer people are outside that early. And venturing out for a walk or light jog in the early evening can give you a later-day energy boost and possibly the chance to see a beautiful sunset. Either way, avoiding direct sunlight in the middle of the day will reduce your risk of harm in the heat and of getting a sunburn (which happens more readily during pregnancy), and you can use the bulk of your day for cooler and more low-key activities. 

3) Choose activities that keep you cool – e.g., swimming or working out on the beach - or consider staying indoors. 

I head out to the Hamptons during the summer, and some of my favorite workouts take place beach-side. The breeze keeps you much cooler, and you can jump into the water right afterwards. Of course, I try to be extra careful about protecting myself against the sun, and I will always opt for shaded areas if that's a possibility.  In addition to being outside, there are great indoor workouts all summer, and many gyms and studios have air conditioning. If not, don't be shy about requesting a fan or a spot near an open window where you can get cool, fresh air.

4) Wear the right clothes!

It's actually very important to choose the right workout-wear during the summer. Pregnant women tend to sweat more and develop heat rashes under their breasts and abdomen. I am always on the lookout for very light fabrics with bright colors that wick away moisture and are less likely to absorb the sun and heat. And some companies make great fabrics that block UV rays. 

 5) Breathe!

Breathing actually lets out heat, and it's also such a crucial part of exercising during pregnancy. And whether or not they’re pregnant, many people tend to hold their breath or breathe too shallowly when they exercise. Try focusing on breathing deeply into the abdomen and lower back, and make sure you have a regular breathing pattern that you can maintain throughout your exercise routine. 

When considering exercising during your pregnancy in the summer months, make sure you consult with your doctor first. (And if you are choosing to exercise outside, go indoors and lie down at the first signs of weakness, lightheadedness, or dizziness.) However, if you follow these tips and avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest times of days, you should be able to stay active, feel more energized, and ultimately enjoy the beautiful weather all summer long.

Mahri Relin

Mahri Relin was a professional dancer and performer in New York City before creating her own dance-based fitness method, Body Conceptions. She was a trainer at the Tracy Anderson Method and then served as the Creative Director for FlyBarre at Flywheel Sports as it grew and developed nationally. In her private training practice, Mahri began to realize that a special fusion of the dance and fitness principles she practiced led to amazing results and also created a workout that engaged and energized her clients. Mahri is a NASM certified persona l trainer and a AFPA Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist. She is a graduate of Willia ms College, and she holds a masters in Clinical Psychology.

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Mahri: what a great thing you are doing! I have sent a lot of friends and clients to your site here on Cape Cod! Your a great inspiration!

Kevin Carroll

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