Take a deep breath, do some stretches and jump into the pool to beat the heat and stay healthy

Step back; put your feet up, and relax — this seems to be the fitness dictum this summer. As the summer turns on the heat, fitness enthusiasts opt for indoor workouts, or head to the pool. Swimming and water exercises pack in the fun and help cut the flab.

“Aqua zumba is the way to go this summer,” says Zumba instructor Sucheta Pal.

Zumba is derived from dance forms such as flamenco, belly-dancing, samba, salsa and reggae-ton. It involves flexing, jumping and kicking. “The water has to be at chest level and there has to be an instructor at the deck. Water buoyancy and resistance tones up the muscles and provides a complete work out. It makes it easier for people with joint pains, back problems and arthritis. And most importantly, it is fun,” she explains.

Stress-free workouts

One can also go in for yoga, pilates, yogalates (a combination of yoga and pilates) and Tai Chi for a stress-free workout, indoors.

“Fitness is not about working out mindlessly,” says Sonika Vickraman, a Tai Chi expert. “Any fitness regime should have a pace which you can follow throughout your life. In Tai Chi, the level of consciousness and involvement is high. It has a gentle and soft pace to it and what happens is an internal workout, a core strengthening. Even if you perspire, the workout ensures that there is an internal body balance. And, you don’t get dehydrated.”

Stick to a light diet. Stay away from fried foods and heavy meals and drink plenty of water, says L. Reshma of Fitness One. “If you have a BP problem, have lime juice. Sport enthusiasts could have energy drinks to get their fill of electrolytes.” If it is too hot and the people working out feel discomfort and a sense of burn-out, the instructors shorten the sessions by 15 minutes, says Reshma.

The fitness experts also suggest muscle stretches. “It involves stretches from head to toe after a workout. The isometric stretches give a balance and relief.”

Indoor activities such as kick-boxing and group workouts pack in the fun in summer.

Kumudha Selvakumar, fitness manager of Welcare Fitness suggests Swissball aerobics, breathing exercises, and stretches.

“Aqua games are a preferred activity. Also, calisthenics (free hand exercises) in the pool helps one burn calories without exertion. Another option is the low intensity cardio workout.”

Going easy on the workout schedule is advisable in the summer as one gets tired easily.

Nutritionist S.A. Nazreen Jones says care has to be taken to avoid dehydration.

“Drink three litres of water every day. And, fluids such as butter milk, lime juice or tender coconut. Among fruits, orange, sweet lime or guava is recommended as they have loads of vitamin C. And, skimmed milk.” Green coloured vegetables such as snake gourd, bitter gourd, bottle gourd and ridge gourd are especially good as they are low on calories, says Nazreen. Avoid potatoes and yam.

“Summer is the ideal time to lose weight as the body’s metabolic rate is high. Instead of fruit juices, consume fruit. It provides fibre intact and is good for the body.”

A summer schedule

Restrict workout to 30 minutes a day

A long walk followed by deep breathing, meditation and stretching is a good workout, preferably in the early mornings or evenings

Don’t work out when the sun is up. Drink plenty of water through the day

Drink nimbu paani, tender coconut water, soups, fruit juices, butter milk and mint juices

Limit the intake of mango and jackfruit as they are rich in calories

A diet of steamed vegetables and food that is less on spices is recommended

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