Right before spring turns into summer, there are a handful of elusive beautiful days when the temperature is mild but warm, the humidity is low and the skies are blue. These dates are ideal for hitting up an outdoor boot camp, running in a park or by the water or practicing your yoga flow on green grass or a rooftop. But as the dog days of summer get hotter and hotter, you might reach a boiling point where the very thought of working out in the great outdoors makes you break into a sweat.
“‘Too hot’ varies based on individuals, but when you find your performance is lacking and your ability to recover diminishes, it might be time to head indoors to get a workout in,” certified personal trainer Jessica Cifelli explains. “With so many ways your body loses hydration, excess sweat in the summer heat can be detrimental to your health, especially when the heat index starts rising above 90 degrees. The humidity will prevent your body from cooling itself.”
For when you just can’t outdoors, let these indoor workout ideas from fitness professionals guide your exercise routine.
Though there’s nothing quite like following along trails on two wheels, feeling the breeze in your hair and feeling ridiculously accomplished when you make it up a mega-steep hill, pedaling to the metal or, ahem, at all, can be stressful when it’s muggy outside. Fitness professional and owner of Dancers Shape in Austin, Texas, Jennifer McCamish says to take your biking obsession indoors.
“Spin classes are an amazing cardiovascular workout that you can luckily do in an air-conditioned environment,” she notes. While you will for sure work up a sweat, you won’t feel so out of breath that you can’t gasp for air since the cool temperature indoors combats your sweat. And you can also rest assured you’ll burn off those late-night ice cream cravings. Cifelli says, “Fifty minutes in this fun and competitive atmosphere can burn upwards of 800 calories in one class.”
Hiking is the West Coast’s go-to workout, but even natives know to not trek up a mountain if the temperature is predicted to go above the highest peak. Instead, Cifelli suggests taking your thirst for adventure indoors by finding a wall that’s made to be a workout tool year-round.
“Grown-up play is becoming a more popular form of exercise due to the challenging and exciting nature. Rock-climbing gym and obstacle course training centers are popping up everywhere and require little to no experience. In most cases, you can hire a one-on-one coach to lead you through a session,” she says.
Ever have one of those over-100-degree days when all you actually want to do is camp out in front of the air conditioner and scroll through Instagram? It happens to the best of us — but take an hour break from your double-clicking to give some love to your midsection. McCamish explains that because you only need one piece of equipment — your body! — to perform barre moves, you don’t need to leave the house to work out.
“Barre is an excellent strength-building technique that uses your own body weight, and one of the many benefits is that you can do this on the go in most any location,” she says. “Finding an improvised barre is easy. Anything from a kitchen counter to a stable living room chair or back of a couch can be used to assist in these exercises.” While you might not perspire intensely with barre movements, you will be building the kind of abdominal and glute strength that makes for some impressive pool-side shots.
Another way to challenge your intrinsic muscles without having to swim your way out of a puddle of sweat? Via a Pilates class according to McCamish. This classic technique is a recommended addition to your cardio routine because it adds cross-training elements to build strength. You can try a Pilates machine class or a basic mat class, both of which will lead you through a series of movements that challenge the smallest muscles that you probably never knew you had.
Believe it or not, your home or apartment building has a plethora of workout challenges built within the walls. To work up a sweat, Cifelli says all you need are very few pieces of equipment — like a jump rope or a kettlebell — to maintain your daily fitness routine no matter the weather. She suggests jumping rope, running up and down stairs and checking out workout videos online, all of which can be performed in your home. Just be mindful of neighbors and stop for water breaks in the kitchen when you need them.
Circuit-training is one of those all-star types of workouts that can be performed at a gym, a boutique fitness class or in your living room. While some routines do include equipment, you can also use your body to work up a sweat without having to venture outdoors. Evan Betts, the senior head coach at Tone House in New York, New York, suggest doing this routine three times for an effective it’s-too-hot-to-leave workout:
Strike a front plank on your forearms and alternate lifting each foot off the ground and squeezing for 5 to10 seconds before switching legs. Keep repeating until you hit 15 reps each leg.
With one hand clutching onto a stable object (chair, counter, table), drop back into a lunge. Then bring that same leg all the way forward and drop into a pistol squat. Repeat this 10 to 15 reps on both sides.
Choose a stable object that you can successfully push up on, like stairs or a couch. Then, do one push up followed by one knee to elbow. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
So gone are the days of using the heat as an excuse not to work out — in fact, these cost-saving indoor techniques can be used year-round and might be a good alternative to that gym membership you buy every January and stop using on Feb. 1.
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