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Summer fitness: drink up!

Summer is great for active people. The warm weather just encourages us to get out, get our sweat on and dive headlong into fitness. From biking and running, to rollerblading, baseball, basketball, tennis, beach sports and more, it's the perfect time to get out and work out. But with the warm days brings excessive heat. Here in the Northeast, we often get temps in the 90s with 100% humidity. So before heading out to enjoy the outdoors and stay in shape, here are some tips on how to do it safely:

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. It's obvious, right? The warmer the weather the more we need to replenish lost fluids. But often we don't feel thirsty, or we wait until we are so thirsty it's already too late. Or, we don't want to carry a water bottle on our workout. So here are some cool items that hold water but don't require you to do the holding:

  • The Camelbak is the item most long distance runners and cyclists swear by. It's a backpack that holds water, keeps it cool and has a straw that attaches to your shoulder for easy sipping.
  • This one allows you to hold it in your hand, but in a non-traditional way. And it has a pocket for keys and ID.
  • Another solution is this shoulder-based carrier which is insulated and offers easy access to your cold beverage.

2. But water is boring! Believe it or not, many adults, not just toddlers might whine about the taste of water. However, we're here to to ensure you have no excuses because here are some ways to jazz it up so it tastes delish and so you don't end up passed out on the sidewalk. Remember, face first on the asphalt = bad. Hydrated = good.

  • Infusion: If natural is your thing, you can always infuse your water with flavor. Just slice up some cucumbers and throw them in a pitcher with ice. Or try berries, lemons, limes, oranges or any fruit you like. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours and voila, delicious, naturally-flavored water.
  • Powder: I have tons of friends who love Crystal Light. First it's very low in calories and second, it tastes yummy. Plus they make these little on-the-go packets that are just the right size for a bottle of water. So your bland water bottle goes from water to lemonade, fruit punch or ice tea in an instant!

3. Keep up those electrolytes. For all you water-haters out there, there's another way to get hydration and replenish electrolytes lost in summer fitness activities. Energy drinks. Electrolytes help us balance out our body's regular function of cells and organs, so they are kind of important. Energy drinks are just one way to stay on balance. Beyond Gatorade, there are nearly too many to list but the great thing is they come in all these different flavors, sizes, and sugar-free and low-calorie options.

4. Be an early bird or night owl. When it's the hot season, the best times to exercise are obviously when it's coolest - either in the morning or later in the day when the sun has either just risen or about to set. Running at noon when it's 95 degrees outside is a surefire way to not only get a sunburn, but also increase your risk of dehydration.

5. Dress the part. Seems obvious too, but a simple white cotton vented hat and light-colored (dark colors absorb the heat of the sun) breathable clothes will help you stay cool. Look for moisture-wicking fabrics that pull the sweat away from your body and into the fabric where it can evaporate and allow you to stay dry. Almost all fitness brands these days have this option.

Bottom line: you can be smart about summer fitness. You just need to have the right tools.

What summer fitness tips do you employ to stay sun and heat safe?

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