What do you get from your fitness workout? A little sweat, some extra muscle? How about a slower heartbeat? What you don't realize is that you also get a whole lot of stress relief along with that sweat.
Stress relief is certainly needed at this time of year. To help you with this tension relief, you need a friend, someone you can laugh with. Summer is the time when you share your effort. Having someone to share sweat with will make your workout time go faster, and it will give you a lift to find that someone else is just as out of shape and uncoordinated as you are. So drag a friend along for laughs!
Humor is the most important factor in working through hot summer months. When you can laugh at yourself and the person with you, you release tension and lift spirits. Life can't be all bad if it's funny! Be a little silly when you do your next workout. Turn around and run backwards or jump every second or third step. Clap your hands once in a while while you run or yell now and then.
Floor fitness classes are a lot of fun. The use of bells, hand claps and singing all release tension and add fun to sweat. If you're using hand-held weights for strengthening, substitute something different for the same weight. Lots of things weigh one or two pounds. Bottles of bubble liquid weigh one pound, soup cans or tie weighted ribbons or bells to your weights.
To be honest, most of us lose a little of our humor, coordination and brain power during the hottest part of the summer. It's easy to lose your sense of humor; forget your shoes or tights and lock your keys in the car - all in the same evening. So while it's hot, use your exercise classes for fun, laugh a lot, be silly and drop some of the "serious."
There will be plenty of time to be serious again about sweating when the temperature cools off and it's time to shovel snow.
Jerry Vance is certified by the American Council on Exercise and teaches fitness at the Carson City Community Center and for the American Lung Association.