By Bob Difley
The hot weather of summer continues to roast many parts of the country, and many RVers will be on the road enjoying Mother Nature from new or old familiar campgrounds. The summer vacation months are full of fun opportunities, but it is also important to maintain your fitness when it’s tempting to slack off during these lazy days.
But you may have to modify or be ready to change your routine to accommodate the weather and situation. When the temperature goes up you may wilt, and find it hard to keep up your activities.
The problem isn’t just the heat – it’s the humidity and the combined effect of both. If the temperature climbs above 90 degrees, it’s risky to pursue strenuous exercise, as the heat places an extreme burden on your system. When the temperatures soar, it’s better to postpone your walks or hikes and reschedule them to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.
The relationship of heat to humidity determines how hot you really feel in different levels of humidity. For instance, if the humidity is 60% and the temperature 85, it feels like 90 degrees. But if the humidity is 90%, and the temperature is 85 it feels like 102 degrees. At 80% humidity and with a temperature of 95 it feels like 136! Don’t underestimate the seriousness of extreme heat and humidity combinations.
The single most important factor in hot weather is to drink water. Lots of it. Your body requires liquids – hydration – to maintain healthy functioning in any weather, but the needs are increased during the heat. Try to establish a habit of sipping water throughout the day, as well as before, during and after exercise.
Keep a water bottle in the cupholder as you drive along and in your camp chair when you’re relaxing. Aim to finish an eight-ounce cup of water every two hours. If you drink coffee or tea, you’ll need more water, as they have a dehydrating effect. Fruit juice is fine, but don’t forget that you’re adding calories to your daily allotment. Sodas are not a good idea They also contain lots of added sugar, sodium and often caffeine.
During the summer days, get up a little earlier than usual, as soon as it gets light, and get out on the trail for your walk. You may be surprised at the number of birds and wildlife who are up with you, and the morning air is always fresh and invigorating. If the day is predicted to be a scorcher, you might opt to take a shorter walk.
Swimming is also a good way to get your exercise and stay cool at the same time, if your campground has a pool or a lake to swim in. Shallow water walking or running, if you are not a swimmer, can burn off calories and provide a cool non-impact way to get your workout.
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