Summer is the time of the year when temperatures run at their hottest and the intensity of the sun is at its highest. You might sweat more easily during your workouts, and have a big cooler of iced water close by at all times. This is all good to stay cool, but there may just be better ways to prevent summer burnout while working out.
In the ancient healing system of Ayurveda, Summer is considered a time when most people do well being a little less active than normal to prevent over-heating, and the physical and mental afflictions that come with it such as heat stroke or sun allergies, inflamed muscles, irritability and digestive problems, trouble sleeping or night sweats.
It’s not only smart to prevent overheating in the summer in order to not burn out, but also to prevent problems like these following you into the next season.
So what are the best ways to stay cool and prevent burnout from overwork?
1. Try and exercise in the morning or early evening.
Avoid the hours between 10am and 2 pm which are high time for the fire element in nature and in our bodies. Going for an early morning run or an evening game of volleyball when the temperatures are cooler can be fun and a new activity for you worth trying.
2. Keep cool water at hand but don't overdo it.
Drinking ice cold water is a shock to the system for everybody, no matter if you are a fire type or not. Having cool water handy, just below room temperature, will be a refreshing way to stay hydrated when it's hot out and during your workouts.
If you don't like the taste of plain water add a handful of berries, a few slices of lemon, or my personal favourite, a sprig of rosemary and peppermint for a refreshing summer drink.
3. Drink Rose Petal Tea.
If you feel agitated in the heat, drink a tea made from fresh or dried organic rose petals, out of your own garden if possible. Add some raw cane sugar to sweeten it. This tea will cool your temper and cool your blood, and it also makes a nice recovery drink if you let it cool down and take it to the gym for during and after your workout session.
4. Skip the Hot Yoga class.
I know, you love the heat, but your internal clock is fine tuned into the season, your body knows it's summer and will react accordingly. Adding fire to fire is not the way to go, especially if you are a Fire type by constitution. Instead pick a slower Hatha Yoga class, maybe try a Yin Yoga class or even go for a Restorative session.
Do some cooling forward bends and twists that will help enrich your blood with oxygen and make it more alkaline. You may also enjoy switching your Sun Salutations for Moon Salutations which are more cooling and balancing to the Fire element in you. Your body and mind will thank you.
5. Do less cardio and more slow and deliberate movements at the gym.
Your muscles and tendons are naturally more pliable and stretchy in higher temperatures than when they are cold. This also means you are more likely to overwork and walk away with a tear or sprain. Consider switching your High Intensity Interval routine for focused and eccentric exercises and moves that involve your brain, such as exercises for balancing and those that stimulate proprioception in your brain.
This is by no means less intense then said HIIT, but targets your brain and muscles more rather than jacking up your heart rate and body temperature. We don't want to fry your brain in the summer, the outside heat is already enough to do that.
Be kind to yourself, acknowledge that it's okay to take a step down, and move with less intensity. Treat yourself well. Preventing burnout should be a priority this time of year and you will be happy you did when you move into fall with full force — ready to take on the world and rev up your intensity again.