5 Tips on Summer Fitness You Can Get in STL

By ALIVE Staff
In Culture

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The summer heat has us heading indoors instead of outside to work out, which got us thinking: Is there a way for us to get fit outdoors without getting overheated? We teamed up with local fitness experts The Jewish Community Center (The J) and Hot Yoga Midwest to find out.

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With the summer weather finally setting in, are there any poses one can do to “beat the heat?”  
Hot Yoga Midwest: In my experience, there aren’t specific poses that will “cool you down.”  However, hyperthermic training—or increasing heat tolerance in exercise performance—can assist the body in its internal regulation of body temperature.

The body is incredibly adept and keeping your temperature at or around 98.6 degrees.  This is why we do not need to set our thermostats at home at 98.6. It is why humans not only survive, but thrive in climates that are warmer than colder—even without air conditioning! Hyperthermic training teaches the body to increase blood flow to the skin and teaches the body to sweat.  These are a few of the body’s natural ways to release excess heat.

Is it okay if there are positions we don’t really want to do?  For example, headstands aren’t a favorite of mine.  Is there an alternative?
Of course it’s OK.  Keep in mind, however, that when a posture is difficult, it is often something the body needs the most. There is a reason it’s hard. I will not use headstand as an example.  It is my personal opinion that many start headstands far before the neck, shoulders and core are strong enough to hold the headstand, which results in unnecessary pressure on the neck and spine. Rather, I teach seated inversions which bring the same blood flow to the brain without the undue pressure on the neck.

That said, I work closely with my teachers to change the verbiage surrounding postures that are inaccessible for whatever reason. Rather than seeking out an alternative for a posture that one cannot due for whatever reason, it is important to get students to understand that there is a beginning to every posture.  What that means is the final expression of a posture is not always reality.  You are doing the posture just by starting it.

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What’s the benefit of exercising in a pool?
The J: Fun and variety—from lap swimming to water aerobics, plus there is much more resistance than exercising in the “air,” which can help improve muscle strength. Also, because we’re buoyant in the water, we feel lighter, so it’s great for people who are overweight, suffer from arthritis or lower back pain. The pool is also a good place to stretch.

What unexpected classes can you take in a pool at The J?
There are all sorts, like Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, Aqua Zumba, Swim Boot Camp, Aqua Rock Aerobics, Aqua Tai Chi and Aqua Personal Training.

For people not confident swimming, what’s the most important thing for them to know when it comes to exercising in water/pool?
The J offers swim classes tailored to all ages and abilities. You can learn to swim, and become comfortable in the water, at any age. If you are not yet a confident swimmer, be sure to find out where the class takes place—deep or shallow water.

Win a three-month membership to The J over on our contest page

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