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Exercising in the heat: Sassy Mama Jane keeps us moving as the mercury rises

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That excuse is just not good enough… or, why it is not too hot to exercise!

There is no denying that Hong Kong has heated up. Yes, the air is like soup – a really, really hot soup. And the last thing that you feel like doing is breaking any extra sweat.

However, this also means that it’s bikini season. It’s time to don your skimpy summer dresses, your short shorts, mini-skirts, and everything else in your wardrobe that is flesh-baringa scary prospect!

This means that the heat cannot be an excuse not to exercise… so you need to get serious with yourself! Do you really want to tell everyone that the reason you look as if you have been surgically inserted into your (now sweaty and uncomfortable) skinny jeans is because it’s just too hot to exercise? Thought not!

Of course it stands to reason that you need to apply some common sense when exercising in the heat. Respect your limits, listen to your body and stay well hydrated and to get the most out of your workout. Breaking a sweat = good idea. Breaking down from heatstroke = definitely bad.

And so before you seek respite from the heat with an icy-cold glass of Sav Blanc (of which there will be plenty of time for later, promise!), here are my tips on staying cool and staying motivated, in order to maintain, or even kick-start, your exercise regime.

1.  Be cool

Apart from Kate Spade, what’s the other reason that you hang out at IFC in the middle of summer? It’s air-conditioned of course! Similarly, this first tip is not rocket science; stay cool while you are working out. Make the heat an excuse to try a new class – in an air-conditioned gym – how about Zumba? Or Barre?

Alternatively, get wet and go for a swim at one of Hong Kong’s great public pools and beaches (this means doing laps, not a splash and giggle!), or try a new watersport, such as paddle boarding or windsurfing at Stanley Beach.

2.  Look cool

While this requires a small outlay of cash, there is nothing better at getting me out of the door than new workout gear because:

a) After spending all that money, I feel obliged to test out my new kit.

b) If I’m wearing fancy new clothes, I feel better about myself, and so make more positive choices. I’m much more likely to stop eating Nutella from the jar and go for a run instead!

c) On those days that I’m feeling confident enough to wear something a little more skimpy, fashionable, or fluoro (I’m a massive fan of fluoro green and pink gym gear!) I’m more motivated to work out, and even work harder, as I don’t want to be that chick with all the gear and no idea!

For these reasons, and just because it’s actually a lot more comfortable, I would advise in investing in at least a couple of cute, weather-appropriate outfits; a breathable Dri-Fit singlet is always going to be more attractive than your old high school gym shirt with sweat stains under the arms. Besides, it’s a good reason to go shopping

3.  Be realistic

Change the way you think about exercise. Especially as a mama, you should aim to make it time just for you. Apart from all the feel-good endorphins that are released (bonus!), doing a yoga class, hiking the Dragon’s Back, or swimming at Deep Water Bay can actually be really uplifting. Alternatively, joining a team can be a really fun way to do something social, while also qualifying as valuable “you time”.

Pick an activity and then schedule it. Instead of meeting your mate for a mani-pedi, meet for Pilates and then a mani-pedi! Apart from being a lot more fun to work out together, it will make you answerable to each other.

But also be realistic; not too many of us are going to skip Friday night drinks in order to work out, so pick a time that will work. Once you start doing something that you enjoy and you make it part of your routine, it won’t feel like such a drag to get out the door, in fact, you might just start to look forward to it – hot or not!

4.  Become even cooler and more interesting than you already are

Ever wanted to run 5km? How about finish a triathlon? Become that cool and interesting person who tells the story, instead of just listening. Set a concrete goal, ideally one that doesn’t involve weight-loss. For example, enter an event in order to keep you on track. With race day looming, you simply can’t duck out of a workout just because it’s a little bit hot. If you are just trying to fit into a smaller pair of jeans, it’s so much easier to say, “Just another day on the couch won’t hurt”.

5.  Suck it up, Princess!

There’s no denying that when it’s hot, exercising can be a little unpleasant and that it’s harder to get motivated. But honestly, being hot is not a real excuse. “I’m less fit than I want to be because it’s hot” just sounds lame!

Often the hardest part is getting out of the door, so stop thinking about it and just start doing it. Sometimes, you are going to have to just suck it up a bit… but then just make sure you brag about it on Facebook! “Went for a run up The Peak and it’s 35 degrees outside. Smokin’ hot!”

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