How to Exercise Properly During the Summer
As many of us know, exercise is an essential part of attaining and maintaining one’s health. As research has demonstrated, regular physical activity has been linked to a decrease in certain cancers, thicker and stronger bones and a lower risk of premature death. Exercise also helps us maintain a healthy weight, get better sleep, boost mood and more.
However, not all exercise is the same; different types offer different benefits, and their suitability depends on our individual constitutions. According to Ayurveda, which posits that an individual’s constitution is comprised of three doshas (one of which tends to be dominant), we should exercise according to our dosha. In addition, we also need to take into consideration our external environments when we exercise. Especially as we enter into the hot summer months, it’s important to exercise both in harmony with our doshas and with the seasons.
Here, we outline several Ayurvedic tips and guidelines for exercising during the summer in order to maximize our safety, health and wellbeing.
An Ayurvedic Approach to Summer Exercise
According to Ayurveda, summer is dominated by Pitta, which is characterized as mobile, hot, sharp, oily and light. During the summer months, it’s important to avoid exacerbating these qualities and to engage in Pitta-balancing activities. For example, our skin tends to become oiler during the summer, which is why heavy lotions or other excess sources of oil can more easily lead to breakouts. To counteract these tendencies, regular cleansing and lightweight moisturizers are a must.
When it comes to exercise, it’s just as important—or perhaps even more important—to keep the balance of Pitta in mind in order to avoid dehydration, overheating and other health risks. When we exercise with an awareness of the season, we can optimize our routines for maximal health.
Be Sure to Stay Hydrated
As the temperatures rise in the summer, vigorous exercise or excessive sweat can make us more susceptible to dehydration. Staying hydrated should be a top-of-mind concern during this time, as severe dehydration carries with it a number of potential complications, including heat exhaustion, heat stroke and seizure.
In addition to drinking lots of water, especially after a workout, whole carbs, fruits and vegetables all contain water, which can offer a bit of a hydration boost. In addition, keep in mind that substances like alcohol are dehydrating. While you may enjoy an afternoon drink outside, make sure you’re drinking enough water in the meantime!
Exercise in the Mornings, Out of the Heat
In Ayurveda, Pitta dominates from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., which is typically the hottest time of the day. Try to avoid exercising during this window. Instead, the cooler temperatures of the early morning are a much more suitable time for exercise.
Exercise in Moderation—Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
We may think that pushing ourselves as hard as we can is a good way to lose weight, boost our health and improve our physical capacities. However, such overexertion can be dangerous, especially during the summer. To avoid exacerbating the hot, mobile, passionate qualities of Pitta, it’s recommended that you push yourself only to 50-70 percent of your capacity.
Prioritize Exercises That Are Beneficial for Your Dosha
In addition to keeping in mind that Pitta dominates summer, it’s also important to tailor our routines to our own individual constitutions. Different exercise styles are best suited for different doshas. Vatas benefit from exercises like yoga, walking and rowing; Pittas benefit from swimming, pilates and casual sports; and Kaphas benefit from jogging, dancing and cycling. All the above principles still apply when you exercise for your dosha. When you keep both your constitution and the season in mind, you can more effectively maximize your health and wellness.
More Blogs on Summer Lifestyle Tips
For more information on Ayurvedic summer lifestyle tips (with more to come!), check out the following blogs: