Swimming Workout Tips for Hot Weather
Swimmers - Sip, Shade, Snack, and Sleep
School's out, the temperature is rising, and, at
least for those in the more northern areas, outdoor pools are
open for business. Summer often means a change to workout
schedules, with more being done in the morning hours, and much
of that being done outside. While workouts include a warm-up and
a cool-down, the cool-down in summer does not always do enough
to keep you from having some heat related slow-downs to
performance. Keep the 4 "S's" in mind to make outdoor workouts
more successful year round, but pay particular attention during
the hot summer.
It is vital to your performance, whether in a practice or a
meet, to be fully hydrated. The increased heat and humidity of
summer can lead to increased sweating, resulting in more water
loss. To compensate, you should increase your fluid intake
daily, keep a water bottle by your lane during workouts, and sip
water or a sports drink continuously during a meet.
Sometimes, when you are hot, you just don't feel like eating.
But if you are working out, and plan to keep on doing so, you
need food! If you don't take in enough, you will feel tired and
out of energy; your ability to complete workouts at the correct
effort level will suffer. You might find that eating small
snacks throughout the day is easier than three main meals. You
might like to add some frozen bananas, frozen juice cubes, cold
(refrigerated) fruits and vegetables, and other items that will
both supply fuel and help cool your body.
That big burning globe in the sky can do serious damage to your
skin. It also raises your body temperature, leading to an
increase in water loss and calories burned. While it might be
impractical to strap an umbrella on your back while you swim
laps, you can apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30,
using it as directed on the package. It should block both UVA
and UVB rays, or at least diminish their effects on your skin.
You may need to apply it more often than directed because you
will be in the water so often. Look for a "sport" brand that is
sweat and water resistant. Don't forget to protect your eyes by
using shaded or mirrored goggles - check the label for UVA and
UVB ratings. Working out early in the day or late in the evening
also helps you avoid the sun's most potent rays.
The extra work your body is performing to compensate for the
heat means it (and you) need to get adequate sleep. Everyone
seems to need differing amounts, but athletes should try and get
at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. This can be difficult to
fit in a busy schedule. While it doesn't always have top be
sleep - even relaxing is good for recovery - sleep seems to be
better. Some ways to make it easier are to take naps and set
your goals to include a daily schedule of going to bed and
getting up. Look at it as being just as important as getting to
practice on time, staying hydrated, keeping up your food intake,
and protecting yourself from the sun. The rest will help your
muscles rebuild by using the fluid and fuels you have remembered
to take in during the day. When you have enough sleep, you will
find your mind and body can perform much better.
Take care of yourself this summer. Stay cool,
and remember to sip, snack, shade, and sleep.