Photo: Courtesy of Aqua Zumba®
If you love getting your heart rate up at Zumba classes but can't bear the thought of shimmying in weather that feels like the Amazon Rainforest, find a pool that offers the aquatic version of this class. At the New York Health & Racquet Club in Manhattan aquatic instructor Taryn Hitchman has her class jump over pool noodles, play tug-of-war and toss beach balls to the sounds of adrenaline-pumping music.
DIY and Stay Cool: Hitchman suggests this move for hips, hamstrings and thighs. Stand with your back against the wall. Extend your leg and place your instep on the middle of a pool noodle. While keeping your leg straight but not locked, pull the noodle down and up with slow, controlled movements. Do 10 reps with each leg, then turn and face the wall so that the top of your foot is on the noodle. Again, do 10 reps with each leg.
Summer is the off-season for hockey, leaving plenty of room on the ice for skaters. The pros embrace the extra practice time, but despite the rinks' obvious appeal on a steamy afternoon, public skating sessions are usually pretty empty. To entice novice skaters, some facilities offer discounted skating fees during the summer, and it can be easier to reserve private lessons with top instructors. You'll burn about the same amount of calories figure skating as you would pounding the sidewalks, but you'll probably be able to keep going longer because you won't have to battle heat and humidity.
DIY and Stay Cool: You don't need a reservation (or a partner) to take advantage of public skating sessions at local rinks. You may not even need skates—call ahead to inquire about rentals.
The idea behind this type of lifting is that building muscles requires pushing them to failure, says Adam Zickerman, ACSM, author of Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution and owner of InForm Fitness gyms. He doesn't mean just "feel the burn"; he wants you to go one rep beyond what you ever thought you could do. Zickerman's head-to-toe program involves six exercises: adduction squeezes (for the hips), chest presses, lat pull-downs and lateral raises or overhead presses (for the shoulders).
DIY and Stay Cool: For chest presses, you'll push the weight up for 10 seconds, then down for 10 seconds, without locking your elbows at the top or resting at the bottom. Each set of three to five reps (whatever it takes for you to feel like you absolutely can't do another) will take about 90 seconds, Zickerman says. Completing all six exercises shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes—so as soon as you break a sweat, you're done.
Photo: Courtesy of Poolates
This class takes the basic principles of Pilates, designed to tone and shape legs, abs and back while improving posture and balance, and translates them to the pool. The water makes it harder to stabilize your core and forces you to really work your muscles—but it also keeps you cool, says Lisa Gibson, a master Poolates instructor who holds classes for teachers around the country.
DIY and Stay Cool: The Standing Star is a key Poolates balance and toning move, Gibson says. In chest-deep water, stand in the Pilates "V" stance, with your legs slightly turned out from the hips, arms extended out to the sides and floating on top of the water and shoulders away from your ears. Inhale, lift the left leg, flex the left foot and allow the leg to rise as your chest and torso extend to the right (the right arm leads, and you will bend at the waist). Exhale and lower the left leg, returning to your starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do three sets.
There are different styles of tai chi, but all involve slow, flowing movements performed while standing upright. While the body never stops moving, you also never get going very fast. According to the Chinese, tai chi helps guide the body's flow of energy, and according to recent medical research, the flowing exercises help lower blood pressure—a welcome benefit on a scorching day. Search for a local martial arts center or YMCA that offers classes.
DIY and Stay Cool: If you can't find a class or practice group in your area, check out a DVD like master tai chi instructor David Dorian-Ross' T'ai Chi Beginning Practice (Gaiam) to get the moves down. The Crane Spreads Wings exercise shows how these gentle, relaxed movements could seem more appealing on a hot day than a back bend or a headstand.
Sailing requires extreme concentration and builds upper-body strength as you pull and throw ropes, push the boom and climb up the mast of bigger boats. Standing on the deck and controlling the sail will also give you a killer core workout. You'll be in the hot sun (just like rock climbing), but you'll also be feeling a cool sea breeze. This can be a dangerous sport to jump into without any experience, so check with your local community center or yacht club to see if they offer lessons.
DIY and Stay Cool: Sunfish sailboats are small, broad, fiberglass boats with a simple rigging system that makes them less complicated for novices. Bonus for the supersweaty: They're still prone to tipping, so it's likely you'll be taking an impromptu dip (wear your swimsuit). Bonus for the supercautious: They're self-righting and virtually unsinkable.
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