Summer or dry season can be an alluring period for a "balik alindog program," i.e., workout or exercise. But even if exercising is a healthy activity in itself, the warmer temperatures may trigger health concerns.
Since exercising is generally physically intense, it heats up the body, so much so that it attempts to cool it down by sweating. But the humidity levels during this period might make it more difficult for the body to cool down.
The body might overheat, resulting in heat exhaustion, in which one may feel nauseous, dizzy, and weak. Worse case scenario would be heat stroke, which includes risks like altered mental status, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, seizure, and even death.
But in light of these risks, should one no longer work out during this period? Not necessarily.
Vince Velasco, a studio fitness instructor at BARE Manila and Flyweight Boxing in Taguig, shared with PhilSTAR L!fe some tips on how one can go about their routines—especially for workout rookies or those who simply wanted to be physically healthy—even during summer.
Know your body
The first thing to keep in mind is that everybody's fitness level varies between individuals. So don't be so hard on yourself if you can't do workouts that other people are doing.
Velasco said you must first be aware of your capabilities and limitations. "Runners and cyclists, for instance, are more accustomed (to heat)," he said. "There are others who are also used to different weathers."
Those who have underlying health conditions must also be especially more aware of what they may and may not do.
Apart from comorbidities, there may also be concerns regarding sensitivity to temperature, breathing issues, and allergies.
Conducive, safe environment always
Velasco noted that working out, though it's a physical activity requiring certain effort, should still be something done in a fun, hassle-free, and, most importantly, safe manner.
If done outdoors, you should work out during periods when the heat isn't so punishing, such as 6 a.m., 4 p.m., or even 7 p.m. onwards.
But as much as possible, do it indoors, especially in studios where the temperatures are cooler.
One of the beginner's mistakes in working out, according to the fashion model-slash-fitness instructor, is the tendency to go extreme immediately. He said those who are exercising must go about their workout routine gradually, else risk not being able to do it consistently over the coming days.
"Don't put much pressure on yourself and go too hard. Don't beat yourself on the first workout," he said.
Basics, basics, basics
When working out, start with basic moves, especially when you're just alone.
Velasco cited as examples those that are being used in physical education classes like squats, jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups, and star jumps.
You may also jog around the neighborhood, adjusting the speed, distance, and time to your heart's content.
Or, if you have a hanging bar at home, you may also try pull-ups, Velasco said. If you wish to be efficient but a little extreme may opt for burpees, a two-part exercise involving a pushup followed by a leap in the air.
Check online resources
Velasco noted that one may also consult with the internet, especially if they're doing home workouts.
Aside from YouTube videos, there are a lot of free health and fitness apps available. Among the leading apps in the market include Rebel, Gymshark Training, and Buddyfit.
Have a healthy diet
As we all know, to stay fit and healthy, we must also maintain a healthy diet. Velasco pointed out that unless you are a bodybuilder or a professional athlete, you shouldn't worry about having extreme diets.
He encourages people to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce intake of food with high calories like those that tend to be sweet, salty, and oily.
In terms of proteins, try eating more chicken or fish as they don't have much fat. Grilled meats are also preferred to deep-fried. And, we know it's hard, but Velasco said to limit your rice intake.
And if you have enough budget, you may avail of meal plans that are designed to be healthy. Delivery services include Healthy Foodie Manila, Fit Food Manila, The Six Pack Chef, Fit Kitchen, and Nuthera.
Even those who seek to lose weight by reducing their calorie intake must also start slow.
Self-love and happiness, still
At the end of the day, Velasco said that what matters is how you values yourself.
"Your size, your looks, and your weight do not equate your value," Velasco said, noting he used to be overweight and had to nurse several injuries.
Engage in physical activities willingly and not just force yourself to do so, he added, as working out should be something that's liberating and enjoyable.
Once again pointing out differences in body types, he said a powerlifter's body may not be comparable to a runner's, inasmuch as an everyday person's built will not be the same as a professional basketball player's.
"The happier you are with your body," Velasco said, "the more empowered you will be."