As I write cocooned in my air conditioned apartment, New York City is sweltering in mid-90s heat and unbearable humidity. I normally run outside and heat can really wreak havoc on my exercise routine. But staying inside and avoiding all outdoor activity will also ultimately make me grumpy and depressed. Here are some tips to stay fit and beat the heat:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: You are sweating much more, so replenish your body’s moisture by drinking more water than usual. And make sure you chill your water: According to a study, drinking cold water before and during exercise led subjects to work out a whopping 25% longer than those who drank lukewarm water. Tip: Instead of chugging water, sip it so that it has time to actually hydrate instead of just going quickly through your body.
2. Eat light: Not only are heavy, greasy foods so unappealing in the heat, summer is the best time to experiment with fresh produce! Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, bok choi, arugula, watermelon, peaches, berries, and cherries are all in season now. And since all produce are at least 90% water, you’ll be getting full on less calories AND hydrating yourself.
3. Wear lighter clothes: If you normally work out in pants and a t-shirt, this is the time to switch to shorts and a tank top. Avoid cotton, which will feel like lead when it’s soaked with sweat–look for synthetic materials like Dri-fit that whisks away moisture and keep you feeling fresher.
4. Work out at different times: Early mornings, it’s still relatively cool and comfortable–and you’ll be burning more fat if you hit the pavement before eating breakfast. Studies show that working out on an empty stomach may lead to more fat loss, since your body is already in fat-burning mode from fasting overnight.