By Elizabeth Reid (Core Factor Pilates)
To enjoy just over 3 weeks of glorious hot summer weather last month was terrific! It’s also joyous to welcome the long-awaited return of Wimbledon and the excitement of the UEFA EUROS 2020 finally kicking off a year late, so roll on the next heatwave too!
During the summer heat, it’s important to stay hydrated and drink a few more glasses of water a day than you perhaps would do normally. You lose water from exhalation as well as through perspiration, which helps keep you cool by taking the heat away from the skin but you also lose vital sugars and salts through sweat. Drinking water is the best and healthy way to stay hydrated!
When exercising in summer, choose your time slots for aerobic exercise carefully. Low-impact exercise such as Pilates, can be practised at most times of the day, through the morning, lunchtimes and early to mid-evening is ideal but you need to be careful with cardio exercises, such as running or high impact workouts, particularly in non-air-conditioned environments. Try and schedule this type of exercise for earlier in the morning or early to mid-evening when the heat of the day is not as intense.
The sun is at its highest intensity at midday, so be cautious heading out at this time. Perhaps curb the distance you would normally run and break it down into more sensible segments. If you usually run 5k, on a hot day run when it’s cooler and maybe run 3k, walk 1k then run the last 1k?
One of the best forms of exercise though is swimming and is especially refreshing this time of year! I absolutely love to swim and it is a fantastic all-body workout, brilliant for improving the cardiovascular system, increases circulation, supports the joints as you swim, all whilst lengthening and strengthening the body’s muscles. Swimming, like walking and Pilates, is one of the best forms of exercise you can do and as it’s so great for both your mind and body, try to fit swimming in as a regular part of your exercise regime.
There are many pools to choose from within Cambridgeshire but one of the best and my personal favourite is the JESUS GREEN LIDO, which is one the longest OUTDOOR swimming pools in Europe, at 91.4 long! Even National Geographic has listed it as one of the ’10 Best British Lidos to visit this summer’! nationalgeographic.co.uk It opened in 1923, remaining resilient and open despite attempts to close it. Sited within Jesus Green, near the River Cam between Jesus Lock and Victoria Avenue Bridge, the pool was designed to be significantly longer than its 14m width, to reflect swimming in the Cam! Another fun fact is that the pool’s deep end isn’t at an end but in the middle at 2.5m where diving is permitted. Both ends are shallow at 1.2m depth and the pool is open for public swimming from May to September. Jesus Green Lido has had its 1920s charm maintained through the upgrades, boasting a lovely cafe, picnic area, a grassed and paved terrace to enjoy the sun, as well as an outdoor sauna! You can book your swim by visiting better.org.uk/leisure-centre/cambridge/jesusgreenlido.
Joseph Pilates had a very resolute attitude towards exercise. Amongst a list of sporting accolades, he also was a very able swimmer and an expert diver. Unsurprisingly then, within his 34 Mat work exercises, he created No. 24, called ‘Swimming’! In the ‘Full version’ of this exercise, you lay on your front on a thick mat, with both arms and legs out straight; arms shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width. Once the pelvis is pushed into the mat to secure a stable base, the arms and legs are hovered off the floor and reciprocal arm and leg movements are made, lifting the opposite arm and leg together at the same time and then alternating, all whilst performing the Pilates Breathing Technique. It can be quite
a tricky one to do but has enormous benefits by strengthening the back muscles, limbs and glutes, all whilst stretching the stomach and chest. I am hugely passionate to the core! about teaching ORIGINAL Pilates, true to Joseph Pilates’ book of 1945. I teach 11 evening and daytime classes locally, both at venue and on Zoom, allowing for adaptions, so that each of the 34 exercises are attainable for virtually all levels of experience and fitness. So, dive into summer this July and make sure you enjoy every swim, every Pilates class and every move you make to help maintain and improve not only your body, mind and fitness but also your mood! Soak in the sun and soak up the rewards of regular exercise.