There’s nothing like breaking a sweat during a workout.
But when you feel the beads forming on your brow the moment you step out the door for a 5:30 a.m. run, exercising outdoors can lose its appeal.
There are days when you can power through, but there are others when you can’t – or shouldn’t. Exercising in the heat can lead to dehydration, heat cramps and, worse, heat stroke, according to the American Council on Exercise.
The council advises checking a heat stress index, which factors air temperature and humidity, before heading outdoors. An air temperature of 80 degrees with 100 percent humidity, for example, could cause cramps and heat exhaustion. When the mercury reaches 90 degrees with 70 percent humidity, heat exhaustion is likely and heat stroke possible.
But the best gauge is common sense and knowing when to take it inside. These workouts, which don’t require a gym membership, will help you beat the heat.
With near fanatic appeal in larger markets such as Boston and New York, barre-style classes are one of the top fitness trends, Rebecca Bell says.
But her decision to bring BarreAmped to her local Pilates studio, Mindful Movements, wasn’t based on a popularity contest. Rather, she chose the class because it most fell in line with the Pilates principles.
(BarreAmped is about) keeping your muscles in a lengthened state and then working them, says Bell, who is also the instructor. It’s much more still. It’s much more subtle than what you think it is.
Using 1-pound weights, participants perform isometric movements that target the muscles in the upper body. As the workout progresses, barre and mat work focuses on the quads, glutes and core, working the muscles to fatigue.
The hour-long class emphasizes a neutral spine and proper form, Bell says, and participants can expect to have corrections throughout the class.
From the barre, you have to understand that the strength comes from inside. You work your body from the inside out rather than holding a weight at the end of a lever and working from the outside in. You have to really be prepared to get inside your body.
A trip to the pool sounds like a relaxing way to spend a hot afternoon, but visiting the Helen P. Brown Natatorium on the South Side High School campus on Calhoun Street isn’t the leisurely summer activity most people envision.
In fact, it’s anything but.
Liz Caywood, natatorium director, says the Power Hour class was designed to attract intermediate to advanced exercisers – the people who might not consider water aerobics.
The hour-long, circuit-style class combines cardiovascular and resistance training in the shallow end of the pool. Participants use a variety of bands and tools – including a deceiving flower-shaped piece of foam with a smiley-face handle – to utilize the water’s natural resistance, which is 12 times that of air.
If you really push yourself, your muscles will be screaming, Caywood says.
An instructor, from the pool deck, leads the class in a cardio warm-up – jogging, high knees and jacks – before participants head to one of nine stations. The stations alternate between cardio and resistance, and the goal is to do as many reps as possible at each. A cardio break splits the first and second round of stations, and the class ends with abs.
The beauty of the water is a deconditioned person or a star athlete can take the class, says Caywood, who warns that there is a learning curve to how the water works.
Jump on it
Adam Bassett says the hour flies by and, in a way, it does.
A SkyFit instructor, Bassett leads a high-intensity class on trampolines at Sky Zone, the new local indoor trampoline park. Participants not only bounce – they rounce (running and bouncing), jump (as in jacks) and perform core and resistance work. The exercises can change week to week or even class to class, but there are a few constants.
My (signature move) is suicide runs, he says. (The trampoline) allows for everyone to be able to do it.
The gym class exercise might cause some groans, but Bassett says participants look like they are having fun.
I’m excited to do the cardiovascular stage of a workout again, he says.
Sky Zone co-owner T.K. Herman says that running on the trampoline requires 30 percent more effort than running on traditional surfaces such as asphalt.
The classes are able to be modified for any fitness level, but Bassett teaches an advanced class that he and Herman hope will appeal to CrossFit enthusiasts.