Health and Fitness: Cool down in hotter months with water-based workou…

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As we head towards summer, there are some considerations to keep in mind when exercising to help prevent over-heating and dehydration. Try to do your exercise in the morning or evening, when it is a bit cooler. If lunchtime is the only time you have to work out then head indoors to the gym where there will be fans or find a shady spot if outdoors. Make sure you always have a hat and sunscreen this time of year as well. And if you are close to the beach or a pool, maybe replace a walk or run with a swim. Ensuring you replace the fluids lost through sweat is important. Get in the habit of taking a bottle of water with you when you work out. This might seem like an obvious suggestion but you would be surprised by how many people turn up to exercise without one. As well as getting water on board, you can also find plenty of benefit, and variety, in immersing yourself in it too. From an early morning surf to the sheer relaxation of a flotation pod (yes, this is real and quite an experience), to a paddle on the lake, river or ocean, exercising in and on the water can offer a torrid workout or a low-impact, cooler alternative to exercise in the hotter months. I am not afraid to admit that I am a seasonal swimmer and this is the time of year I dust off the goggles and incorporate some laps into my weekly fitness schedule. Sometimes that session is alternating swimming laps with walking them and there’s nothing too strenuous to it. It is a chance to keep the body moving for joint mobility as well as a pleasant change to a sweat-soaked run or gym session. If you are a keen swimmer, then there are some events coming up which might appeal to you, including the Across the Harbour Swim on Australia Day and the Newcastle City Sparke Helmore Triathlon on February 23, which can be done individually or as a team. There are plenty of other ways to use our water surrounds this summer to stay active. They include: Surfing. We have several surf schools in our region and they are a great place to start if you are wanting to give surfing a go. Those who surf religiously would know the mental and physical benefits and new research conducted by Bond University PhD graduate and teaching fellow Vini Simas has revealed the pressures placed on the body through surfing have the potential to improve bone density and strength for men aged between 50 and 75. “We already know that surfing has a broad range of physiological, cardiovascular and muscle health benefits, as well as improving co-ordination and balance, and now we have evidence suggesting it is potentially good for bones as well,” Simas said. Stand-Up Paddleboarding. If you have tried this you will know it is harder than it looks. It is an all-over body workout and can be adapted to suit a range of fitness levels and goals. Lessons are available in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens. Dragon Boating: There are a few clubs in the area, such as Newcastle Hunter Dragon Boat Club, and most generally offer an introductory session to see what it is all about. It is for a range of abilities as well as a community connection. Variety Santa Fun Run, The Station, December 8: The event has 5km and 10km courses and is fully inclusive and family friendly. Each participant gets a Santa suit to wear. Across the Harbour Swim, Newcastle harbour, January 26: It is the only legal way to swim across our busy harbour. Choose between the 700-metre single crossing or 1.4km double crossing. Maximum Adventure Race, Lake Macquarie, February 15: This race is part of a national series designed to offer an introduction to adventure racing. It is done in pairs and features mountain biking, trail running and kayaking. Try these two 15-minute workouts. Work through the exercises continuously for time with focus on form. Add a two-minute rest between sets. Make it longer if you need longer or add in rests earlier if required. Make sure you have water handy with the weather warming up. Set 1: 10 squats, 50 skips with skipping rope, 20-metre bear crawl, 40 bicycle crunch, 20 alternating lunges with a knee lift, run/walk 250m. Set 2: 10 dead lifts, 10 bent-over/horizontal rows, 50 mountain climbers, 10 push-ups, 10 glute bridge, run/walk 250m. Finish with a stretch or a water cool-down. Send your health and fitness news to r.valentine@newcastleherald.com.au. Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.

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