By Deb Siewing, Friend & Former Dragonfly Coach
Whether you’re walking, running, working out, or just partaking in fun outdoor activities this summer, you need these FIVE TIPS for staying FIT, FOCUSED, and INJURY-FREE!
Without further ado:
1) BEWARE THE DOUBLE H FACTOR
Feeling the HEAT and HUMIDITY? Welcome to summer in the Midwest!
We all know St. Louis summers can be challenging when it comes to outdoor activities—especially running and walking. The Double H factor can quickly cause higher heart rate, increased RPE (rate of perceived exertion), and fatigue, which can lead to an injury.
This handy chart shows how an increase in heat index (or even a significant decrease in temperature) can impact your pace. Based on an ideal activity temperature of 60 degrees, you can see how quickly a 10-minute mile turns into an 11-minute mile with the same rate of exertion.
Be smart when heading out into the heat for your workout!
2) DON’T TRY TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES
No pun intended, Renah! 😉 What I really mean is a conversation like this:
Me: I’m running 4 miles today!
Friends: Oh, we’re running 6 miles today.
Me: Sure, what’s 2 more miles? I’m in!
In your life, this conversation might not be about two extra miles but another 50 single-leg bounding lunges…or 4,000 more steps…or another 20-30 minutes of swimming…and any of that could be the difference between staying healthy…and getting injured.
Listen to your body, and do the activity you prepared for. Which brings me to my next tip…
3) HAVE A PLAN
Being physically and mentally prepared has its advantages in many facets of life, and that includes working out. Having a healthy balance in your training is key. Being willy-nilly or just going with the flow can lead to injury from fatigue or overtraining.
4) AVOID OVERTRAINING
You may have heard of the “law of diminishing returns.” Well, this doesn’t just apply to economics, it applies to exercise. More is not always better.
Even when I was training for my Ironman Triathlon, I had to balance swimming, biking, running, strength, stretching, and rest. (Whew, I feel like I overtrained just writing that!)
Having the time or energy to do more wasn’t going to make me stronger or faster, it was just going to increase my chances of injury.
5) LEARN THE 3 Rs
They begin as soon as your workout ends:
Always leave time for cooling down and stretching. If you’re running short on time, it’s better to cut that run a few minutes short rather than skipping your recovery. The benefit of it will far outweigh that extra half mile you’re trying to squeeze in before you jump in the car.
After that, you need to refuel accordingly. Give your body some love and nutrition. Whether it’s a recovery shake, granola bar, or quick snack, the quicker your muscles get fuel, the quicker they can begin repairing and recovering.
And then: rest. It’s actually good for the mind, body, and soul!
Here are a few bonus tips to get through an active summer:
Wear light-colored clothing with wicking material for breathability.
Remember: COTTON IS ROTTEN when it comes to performance apparel and sweating.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Usually, by the time we’re thirsty, our body is already dehydrated. Summer doesn’t mean you need an IV of Gatorade or a salt stick readily available, but it does mean we need to replenish our fluids and electrolytes to avoid exhaustion and dehydration.
Wishing you a safe, fun, active, and injury-free summer!