Wake Up to a Morning Workout

Are you getting excited about the lazy days of summer? Warm weather can certainly put you in the mindset for relaxing, whether it’s napping in a shady hammock, floating on an inflatable raft in a pool (with sunscreen, of course), or lounging around in pajamas after breakfast on the porch. But don’t take the word “lazy” too literally when it comes to your workout. Consider exercising in the morning before it gets too hot. You may find your morning workout so energizing you decide to build it into your schedule year-round. Here are a few A.M. workout tips:

Enjoy a preworkout snack. After a night of sleep, you need a little something (not a fully breakfast!) before you exercise. Enjoying a low-fat or nonfat yogurt, a handful of nuts, or even a glass of fat-free or 1% milk will make a big difference in how energetic you feel once you get going. If you’re on Phase 2, you also have the option of all-natural, low-sugar peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat toast or some sliced apple.

Get hydrated! (And coffee doesn’t count!) Sure, you may need a cup of java to get going. But caffeine is a diuretic, and when you’re exercising outside on a hot morning, you risk becoming dehydrated if you have more than a cup. Instead, have a large glass of water when you wake up, and take a water bottle along with you to the gym or park. Then enjoy that coffee when you get back.

Protect your skin. It’s important to wear sunscreen on your exposed areas, and you should consider wearing UV-protective sunglasses and a hat as well. When it comes to clothing, light colors are best since these keep you cooler by reflecting sunlight. Some exercisewear has UV protection built in.

Stay safe. If you’re exercising before the sun’s up, be proactive and wear brightly colored reflective clothing, such as a vest, so drivers and bikers can see you. It also helps to carry a light or to wear a hat that has a light built into it. It’s best to stay on the sidewalk or a path. If you must be on the street, follow the traffic rules by biking along with the traffic or walking against it.

Don’t get bored. Boredom is frequently cited as the reason people quit working out, so try changing up your workout this summer. If you have a friend you’d like to see more often, invite her to walk with you in the morning. You both get a workout in, and you can catch up on each other’s lives, too. If you’ve been avoiding the gym, put your membership on hold for the summer and walk or bike outside instead. If you belong to a local town pool, ask about early bird hours. Some town pools open as early as 6 A.M. and it’s a great, uncrowded time to do laps (swim intervals to maximize your workout in less time).

Work out with your kids. There’s no time like summer, when there are ample opportunities to be outside, to encourage your children to get moving. Have an early breakfast together, then shoot hoops before it gets too hot. Do you have a teenager in the house who wants to get in shape? Resolve to do some interval walking or biking together, or sign up for a spinning class. You’re not only both getting into great shape, but you’ll work in some valuable communication time as well.

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