7 Summer Exercise Safety Tips

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Summer is HERE and in full swing.  Don’t let this summer pass without getting out and exercising. You know, you've said to yourself, ”Once COVID is over…”.   With State Mandated COVID-19 Restrictions lifted, here are seven summer safety tips to keep in mind so you can start shedding that “COVID Quarantine Weight”.

Ease into it! Pace yourself

If more than two weeks have passed since your last activity, chances are your body has deconditioned from its previous activity level.  Ease your way back into activity. Walking 15-30 minutes is a great beginning.  Walk/Run/Walk is also a good start if you are a runner. Whatever the activity you are re-entering, take a slow to moderate approach for week 1, moderate to vigorous for weeks 2-3. Once you get started, add time, distance and/or intensity (weighted leg/wrist bands) to your exercise bouts to amp things up and to help you prepare to go back to were you left off in your execise routine before you stopped.  150-180 minutes a week of moderate-vigorous activity is an ideal goal for exercise- that's exercising 30-45 minutes each session for most days during the week. Your body will soon adjust to your new activity and intensity levels. 

Workout Buddy

With  a lot of COVID Restrictions lessoned at gyms, its great to exercise with someon, but at a safe distance. Keep the motivation to exercise going by asking a friend to join you or an accountability partner to check in with you.  Like with fitness apps or fitbit groups offering encouragement and a sense of  community (even a bit of competition), exercising with others is a great way to stay committed, dedicated and motivated to stick to your exercise routine and make it more enjoyable. 

Stay Hydrated

If your fitness level is high or your job is physically demanding, you may need to consume more than the average recommendation of 6-8 cups per day (48 - 64 oz or 3 - 4 16oz water bottles).  To avoid becoming dehydrated, it may be best to drink plenty of fluids–as much as 2-3 cups per hour (at least 1 to 1.5 -16 oz water bottles per hour)–unless you are exercising or outside in the heat, then you may need to consume even more water. (https://www.universityhealthsystem.com/blog/how-much-water-should-i-drink)

Watch for muscle soreness

If you haven’t worked out in a while, it is normal to experience DOMS- (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness- a general soreness, even stiffness in your muscles).  Don't let that stop you. Your body will need time to rest and recover, usually 48 hours. However, if you experience acute pain for longer than 72 hours or if there is swelling, bruising or other persistant pain, you may have overused your muscles and may want to contact your primary care provider to check your for injury.   There is a difference between pain and muscle soreness.  Until you can get to a PCP, pain can be eased with R-I-C-E (rest, ice, compression and elevation), but a physician is the best one to diagnose what is causing the pain.  Take a break from exercise to rest and recover. When things are better, ease back into your workout.

Let someone others in on it: your route & exercise.

Walking, running, biking, hiking, kayaking and the like are wonderful ways to exercise, recharge and get fresh air.  For safety and security, plan your route, take a friend along, but no matter what, let others know where you are going and when you are exercising.  Consider exercising when it is cooler (in the mornings or evenings) to prevent Heat Related Illnesses (https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html).  


Protect yourself: sunblock and bug spray

Consider if you will be in direct sunlight and/or in an area near water or trees. Using sunscreen and bug repellant adds a great layer of protection against harmful UV rays, mosquitos and other insects that bite. Consider the waterproof kind of sunscreen if you are the sweating type. There are even products that combine the two- sunscreen and bug repellant.


Precautions after vaccinations

Although new COVID-19 cases have declined and restrictions have been lifted, new strains of COVID-19 are still present- Alpha, Beta Gamma, & Delta Variant (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/variants/variant.html).  Keep using safety precautions, especially if you use a gym to workout.  Wash hands before and after your workout in a gym or after being outdoors.  Using disposable gloves is an option when working out. Clean your equipment before and after use. Do your best to keep distance between you and other folks in the gym.  Wash your workout clothes as soon as possible after you exercise. With all organized sporting/fitness activities, check with the coach, fitness professional, or authorizing body for any COVID-19 policies they may still use. Participating in outdoor classes or events, if possible, or in classes with as few people as possible are recommended social distancing protocols.  Masks are still required if you have not been vaccinated, but can be considered for wearing by those who are already vacinated when in a public indoor space as an additional layer of protection. 

NYFITPROS is here for YOU!

With these tips, you can get moving again, get that “COVID Quarantine Weight” off, and enjoy the summer for all it has to offer. Call NYFitPros if you need a great place to workout , if you need a trainer to help get you going and stay motivated, or if you want help with weight loss. We are here to for YOU!

Penelope Benjamin, B.A. Exercise Science

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