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Maintaining fitness focus during the summer: strategies for success

Maintaining fitness focus during the summer: strategies for success Maintaining fitness focus during the summer: strategies for success Maintaining fitness focus during the summer: strategies for success

Summer is always an inviting time of year to get outside and get active, but the same things that make it so appealing can also be an obstacle to success: the heat; the temptation to just kick back and lounge in the sunshine; or the myriad opportunities for barbecuing, pubbing and al fresco get-togethers.

So how can you make sure you stay motivated to stay in motion? We’ve put together this handy list of strategies that you can use to both take advantage of the fitness opportunities of the summer months, while also avoiding their fitness pitfalls.

Set achievable goals

The first step towards fitness success is to outline clear, achievable goals by which to measure your progress – and stick to them! Having a target gives you something to aim for and which motivates you, whether that be running a certain distance, improving your personal best on a particular cycle route, or swimming a specific number of lengths at your local swimming pool. Make a note of your goals and break them down into small, manageable chunks; this will give you something to refer back to, and a sense of accomplishment as you see you’re getting closer to your ultimate goal.

Be flexible

The summer months often usher in a more hectic or changeable routine than usual, given it’s a popular time for holidays, socialising and general opportunities to spend time outdoors. As such, it’s always best to be flexible to ensure that your fitness routine can adapt to these changes as much as possible. For example, if you’re away from home, see if you can find ways to exercise on the go; sometimes going for a walk or run in a new environment can be an exciting way to take in the local scenery. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up if you miss doing your workout at your usual time – just try and avoid being rigid and catch up on your routine at the next best opportunity.

Enhance your routine with technology

Bearing the above two points in mind, there are a variety of apps that can help you set goals and keep track of your progress, as well as making it easier for you to reschedule your sessions if you’ve had to delay any elements of your fitness regime. Don’t forget that many phones (and even some watches) are able to keep track of your step count, and some can even remind you when you’ve been sitting still for too long!

Get outside

If you usually get most of your exercising done at the gym, summer presents a great opportunity to take advantage of the (usually) fine weather and get your fitness fix from activities like outdoor swimming, cycling or hiking. Not only is this a good way to shake things up and keep your exercise interesting, but communing with nature and the outside world can also be a refreshing boon to your mental health. But don’t forget to wear sunscreen if you’re outside and your skin is exposed to the elements!

Keep an eye on hydration

A guaranteed way to make working out in the summer less pleasurable – and even dangerous – is to not drink enough water. Being dehydrated will make you more tired and negatively impact your performance, which is sure to make sticking to your routine less appealing than it would be otherwise. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of liquids – even when you’re not exercising – and try to make sure you’re getting plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables as well.

Listen to your body

Getting out and doing another bout of exercise can be all the more tempting when the sun is shining, but it’s absolutely essential that you give yourself time off to recover and rest between days of intense activity. Not letting your body rest and recover is a surefire way to push your body past its limits, become fatigued and perhaps even sustain an injury that will have a serious impact on your fitness routine. Always listen to your body: if you’re in pain or feeling especially tired, then give yourself a break.

Watch out for blisters

Summer weather means more heat, and more heat leads to more sweat. This is particularly significant when it comes to your feet, where moisture from sweat can lead to more friction between your toes, or between your skin and your footwear. That’s why it’s important to wear socks and shoes made from sweat-wicking materials – and to make sure you always have Compeed blister plasters on hand. Whenever you sense a blister coming on, applying a Compeed plaster will instantly cushion the pain, and start the healing before your blister has a chance to get any worse and derail your workout routine.

Give yourself a pat on the back

Finally, remember that one of the best things you can do to stay motivated is to celebrate your successes as you progress – no matter how small they may seem at the time! Better still, you might even like to decide ahead of time to reward yourself for hitting certain goals – perhaps with a relaxing massage, a day trip to exercise in an exciting new location, or an indulgent takeaway dinner.

The important thing is to take advantage of as many of the opportunities that summer presents as possible, while also bearing in mind all the ways the heat and temptations of the season can risk thwarting your exercise routine. But as long as you set goals, are flexible in achieving them and stay hydrated and healthy, you’re sure to be celebrating having made great progress in the sunshine before summer is out.