A heat wave is sweeping through the country and given the severe conditions, it is best to take your workouts indoors. Also, given how climate change is impacting our weather patterns, it would be prudent to take into account extreme climatic conditions for each season while making your training calendar. Here are three ways you could keep up your fitness without exposing yourself to the elements this summer.
Swimming: There’s nothing better than to hit the pool to escape the summer heat. And when you can get a workout while enjoying the cool waters, it’s a win-win situation. Whether you know how to swim or not, there are coaching centres across the country that can help you learn from scratch or take you to the next level by improving your skills. The coaches today are also skilled enough to hand hold you to overcome your water phobias.
Swimming is a full body workout, says former Olympics swimmer Nisha Millet. “You could constantly challenge yourself with swimming by changing the speed, distance or stroke and that keeps it interesting. Also, you burn plenty of calories.” What’s more, swimming is a low impact sport unlike running or weight training which means your joints don’t come under any pressure and reduces the risk of injury while reaping all the benefits of exercise.
A study published in the Journal Of Interactive Medical Research in November 2021 found that outdoor swimming can have positive impacts on health, and can reduce the symptoms of adverse mental health conditions, musculoskeletal problems and injury, and cardiovascular and blood conditions. An earlier study published in the Journal Of Hypertension in 1997 found that swimming could help manage hypertension. “Swimming training elicits significant reductions in arterial blood pressure at rest in individuals with hypertension. This is a clinically important finding since swimming can be a highly useful alternative to land-based exercises for hypertensive patients with obesity, exercise-induced asthma, or orthopaedic injuries,” it concluded.
Racquet sports: With badminton in the limelight following the Indian team winning the Thomas Cup, racquet sports are in the news. It is quite timely as well, as the sport is played in the comfort of a temperature controlled indoor arena. Another racquet sport that you could try is squash. Although it isn’t an Olympic sport yet, it is extremely popular, requires you to use both your mind and body and gives you as good a workout as badminton. Both squash and badminton push up your heart rate and both are games of skill that improve your reaction time; both require you to change directions and make short quick dashes around the court.
These are great sports to help you achieve your health goals, and maintain your active lifestyle, says Gagan Arora, celebrity coach and founder of Delhi’s Kosmic Fitness. “It helps you improve cardiovascular endurance, agility and improves mind-body coordination,” he says. If you play these sports regularly (an hour thrice a week) would increase your metabolism, improve balance, decision making capabilities, burn fat and improve muscle tone and bone strength.”
Aqua running: Sticking to your running plan in the current heat is well nigh impossible. You might be tempted to complete your runs on the treadmill with the air conditioner blasting at full force. But ask any runner and they would tell you how much they hate the treadmill as running long distances on one could lead to serious knee issues.
Boston Marathon veteran Sherab Melvin never stops running. When she can’t run outdoors, she takes her runs indoors to the pool instead of the treadmill. Aqua running is extremely low impact and the buoyancy of water also makes it easier for overweight people to run without exposing them to the risk of impact injury.
A study published in the journal Military Medicine found that deep water running was an effective exercise for the maintenance of land-based running performance. It is also a great way for those nursing an injury to continue with their workouts as the buoyancy of water reduces the impact of the exercise. Aqua running “provides for decreased stress and weight-bearing to injured tissue and joints, allows for maintenance of cardiovascular fitness and a training effect, and offers greater specificity of exercise in relation to running,” the study noted.
Indoor cycling: If you are not the kind who risks cycling on Indian roads before daybreak, you aren’t alone. And since the weather gods aren’t being kind at the moment. it’s best to hook your cycle onto an indoor trainer and continue cycling without getting roasted under the harsh sun. A smart indoor trainer lets you replicate any course and terrain and you could happily Everest on your bike in the comfort of your own home watching. That sure sounds like having your own cake and eating it too!
Shrenik Avlani is a writer and editor and the co-author of The Shivfit Way, a book on functional fitness.