Heat got you down? Feeling sluggish and lazy and unmotivated to move your body? I’m with you. It’s summertime right now in Costa Rica and one of my biggest obstacles to staying on top of my fitness is when the heat just sucks the energy right out of me. I’ll tell you a secret…I don’t like to sweat. I love to move my body but I hate feeling hot and sweaty. I’d rather lounge in the shade like a lizard than do something that would make me sweat even more than I already am in this weather!
So what’s the solution? Well, I could force myself to get up and get in the sun and do something sweaty and intense, but that’s not my personal style. Nothing against those who love to sweat, but I have another idea: stay cool while I work out! Cue swimming. Yes, I’m lucky enough to live within a 30 min walk or a 10 min bus ride to a gorgeous, warm water beach. I’m pretty sure there’s also a swimming pool somewhere around here too. But for me, nothing beats getting out in nature as I exercise, so swimming in the ocean it is! And if I time it for early morning or late afternoon, I can miss the hottest part of the day.
All you need is your swimsuit, waterproof sunscreen, and goggles, and you’re ready. Of course, only try this if you feel strong enough as a swimmer to battle the waves. I personally love that the waves challenge me to keep my form and hold my breath longer, working my muscles and my lungs with more intention than if I was in a swimming pool and not having to think about it. You can also plan to swim during low tide when the water is calmer and focus more on floating and treading water. I only swim out to a distance from the shore that I’m comfortable with, and then I do my laps parallel to the shore. Watch out for rip tides and undertow-always be aware of the ocean’s conditions as it can change daily. The best way to escape a riptide or undertow is to swim parallel to the shore. Swim in front of a lifeguard stand as well to give yourself an extra level of safety.
Once you feel safe swimming in the ocean, you can challenge yourself to swim more laps, or not touch the ground for longer periods of time, or go further out. But always know your limits.
Now you have a win-win workout: you’re moving your body, you’re cooled off by the water, and you’re basking in the joy of being in nature. And that is my ideal workout in the heat! Does it get any better than that? Not for me!