It’s hot today where I live. I mean, it’s 98° (I’m writing this before I’ve had breakfast!) and the heat index is 113°, with humidity of 62%. It’s not surprising that we’re under a heat advisory by the US National Weather Service. I’m a summer-lovin’ girl, but that’s hot, even for me. Now I’m not complaining, but to meet my exercise goals during the dog days of summer, is going to require a bit of creativity…and perhaps air conditioning. I want to stay active, stay hydrated, and stay away from my local urgent care with a heat-induced illness, and I want these for you as well. With these 3 parameters in mind, I’m heading straight for my Body & Soul group fitness class at every opportunity, but on the days of the week when Body & Soul isn’t offered locally (in the comfortable air-conditioning of my church), I must be creative. First, I must decide if I’m exercising outside or inside. If it’s outside, I’d better head out early in the morning, before the temperature involves 3 digits! If it’s inside, I need to choose exercises that fit into my available (air-conditioned) space. Keep reading for 4 C.O.O.L. exercises for summer:
CROSS MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS – Hold a plank position (think pushup) with your hands below your shoulders. These can be on the floor, leaning forward toward a sturdy table or chair, or even facing a wall. Bring one knee at a time toward the opposite hand, alternating at a comfortable speed. Perform 20 repetitions (or climb for 45 seconds). Remember to keep your abdominal muscles contracted as you climb the mountain!
OBLIQUE CRUNCHES WITH SINGLE-ARM REACH – Stand with one leg slightly out to the side (toe down) same arm reaching overhead. Bring the knee up and out to the side, as you pull the elbow out and down toward the raised knee and curling at the ribcage. Then return to your starting position. Perform 20 repetitions on each side (or 45 seconds), with a brief rest in between.
OUT & IN SQUATS – Step out to one side and squat, step into a narrow position and squat; then step out to the other side and squat. Continue this pattern for 45 seconds (or until you have completed 20 squats). Remember to keep your body weight in your heels by pushing your hips back, as if descending to sit in a chair.
LUNGES (3-directional) – Step forward into a lunge with your right leg, performing a bicep curl at the same time. Push back into a standing position and release your arms. Step out into a side lunge with your right leg, bringing your arms into a T position. Push back into a standing position and release your arms. Step back into a lunge with your right leg, reaching both arms straight up at the same time. Finally, press into your front heel to return to a standing position and drop your arms down by your sides. Perform 10 repetitions on each side (or 45 seconds), with 20 seconds of rest in between.
This workout works great outside and inside, because it doesn’t require equipment, much time on the ground, or much space. It can be based on time or repetitions – it depends if you like to set a timer or prefer counting. Either way, perform each exercise for the specified amount of time or reps, and rest between each exercise for 20 seconds. Run through these 4 COOL exercises 3-4 times for a well-rounded workout, remembering to stay hydrated by drinking COOL water throughout the dog days of summer, and stay away from your local urgent care office (though they WILL have air conditioning!).
Amy Stafford is the President of Body & Soul Fitness, certified personal trainer, ACE faculty and ACE Group Fitness Instructor. She is a leader in the fitness industry and is a popular speaker for women’s events, retreats, fitness conferences. For information on booking Amy for your event or for an interview please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy currently teaches in the Williamsburg, VA area.