You’d hate yourself if you took a whole season off from working out. But exercising in the summer heat is more than just uncomfortable – it’s dangerous. High temperatures reduce the capacity of plants to absorb ozone. This leads to heightened levels of air pollution. Greenery “may not protect us when we need it most: during extreme heat, when ozone formation from traffic fumes, industrial processes and other sources is at its worst,”according to David Garner of the University of York. And it’s not just the air that can hurt you. The heat itself can cause health problems and even death. A report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that the ill effects of high-temperature workouts are “Dramatically underreported”and contribute to “significant morbidity as well as occasional mortality.”
Meanwhile, going to the gym can be as much a hassle as outdoor exercise is dangerous. Who among us has never joined a gym after New Year’s only to abandon it weeks or even days later? Gyms are crowded, noisy, and pungent places. Plus, they bring unwanted social pressure. In a gym filled with perfect hard bodies, it can be discouraging and even embarrassing to carry out your fitness regimen. Besides, who wants to put on makeup to go sweat on an elliptical?
That’s the bad news. The good news is that you don’t have to brave the blazing sun in order to stay in shape. You can get a terrific exercise routine going in a place that’s cool, safe, and convenient: your own home. As long as you stay air-conditioned and hydrated, your house or apartment can be one of the best places to satisfy your fitness needs. Below are just a few of the many options available:
Running up stairs
You can burn 250 calories in just 15 minutes of running up stairs, according to CalorieLab. This workout is not only time-efficient but also highly aerobic. It really gets the heart going. If you have stairs in your house, consider putting them to use for your health. If you don’t, don’t worry. There are plenty of other home workout possibilities.
What could be easier than turning on a video? The array of exercise videos available today is staggering. From the popular P90x (recommended by CNN Health) to classic Jane Fonda videos (yes, you can find them on YouTube), you’ll find workout instruction and motivation to accommodate every level of fitness and skill, and even special requirements like training for sports. Whether you’re looking for a vigorous cardiovascular burn or a relaxing half-hour of yoga, the right video for you is out there.
If video games sound a bit too high-tech for your taste, you can stick with the tried and true. Weight training is an extremely powerful way to improve your strength and fitness. Pumping that iron will help you develop strong bones, control your weight, boost your stamina, manage chronic conditions, and even sharpen your focus. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Despite its reputation as a ‘guy’ or ‘jock’ thing, strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.” You don’t have to build a lifting bench by the coffee table, either. You can use small, easily-stored weights to great benefit. You can even do strength training without weights using your own body’s mass in exercises like crunches, pull-ups and push-ups. Your body will thank you for it.
Nintendo Wii and X-Box Kinect
Video games aren’t just for couch potatoes anymore. Nintendo Wii and X-Box Kinect offer experiences that will get your whole body moving. Some titles feature standard exercise training. Others are real action games that provide you with motivation to run, jump and sweat. Video games are fun, so they make the time fly by and take the boredom out of cardio. After you’ve played games like Wii Sports and Kinect Star Wars, you may well find that the treadmill has lost its glamour for you. An added bonus: Kinect will actually track your calories and tell you how much energy you’ve burned. Sounds a lot better than hitting the hot pavement.
Good old squat-thrusts, jumping jacks, and other calisthenic exercises still work as well as they did when you were in gym class. According to Oregon State University, you benefit a lot just by getting off the couch and moving around. Their findings “demonstrate importance of minimizing sedentary activities and replacing some of them with light-intensity activities.” In other words, you don’t have to be a world class athlete to give yourself a much-needed break from sitting down.
Creating a Healthy Workout Environment
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re in a room-temperature environment. You’ll want a good source of cool air that can balance out the heat you’re generating with your movement. But that cool air should come from a source that’s not too bulky or obtrusive. The NewAir AC-10000E is a compact and portable air conditioner with a directional fan that can push the coolness right where you need it – at yourself.
Finally, you’ll need to stay well-hydrated. For that, nothing beats cold water that’s right at hand. Try the NewAir WCD-100W water dispenser and you’ll never be far from a pure, health-sustaining drink.
So even if this summer’s a scorcher, you’ll be able to stay fit and trim with workouts that happen in the comfort of your home.