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Exercise | Beat the Heat for Health

Much of the United States is feeling a little hot under the collar as a heat wave is steaming up the better part of the East Coast. If only we felt just the temperatures the weatherman is calling for – the added smoke behind the heat index is what will really get you.

Does this give you an excuse to skip out on exercise? Not a chance! (Nice try, though.) It does give you a reason to “feel the burn” in the confines of an air-conditioned room. Of course there’s always the option to go to the gym and pump some iron or take in a favorite group fitness class. For me, this is my “special place.” This is the one hour on certain days when it’s all about me. My kids are safely in the care of the kids’ club on site and I can focus on me. And did I mentioned it’s air conditioned?

When the gym isn’t an option, you’re still not off the hook with an excuse. Early morning temperatures aren’t quite so bad, so set your alarm, lace up your shoes and find a nice, safe, well-lit route for a walk or run.

Still cringing at the idea of exercising outside? Be resourceful and seek out the opportunities for resistance in your own home. Run up and down the stairs or in place. Do push ups, planks and crunches. Squats and leg lifts. Triceps dips off the coffee table. Really, the possibilities are endless (just check with your doctor to ensure you have no physical limitations, and if you do, work around them…and it’s okay to build up slowly with lower options for the novice exerciser). Not sure what to do at home? A Google search of “best home workouts” will give you more options than you can imagine.

Regardless of where you work out, remember one of the most important “beat the heat” tips – HYDRATE. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking at least 96 ounces of clear water (read: not the stuff mixed with powder flavorings) per day. When the temps rise, it’s best that your water goal rise, too. By the time your body tells you you’re thirsty, you’re already partially dehydrated, and any degree of dehydration can affect your performance.

If you do go outdoors, give yourself as many breaks as you need, and don’t feel like you have to push yourself as much as you may on a beautiful 70-degree day. Heat is tough on the body, and you don’t want to risk injury. Also, don’t forget to apply a sweat-proof sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

When I’ve got a long run scheduled and I know it will be outside, I weigh myself beforehand and then again after, and any weight lost I replace with that much water. I also carry a water bottle with an electrolyte solution. Some choose Gatorade in these situations; I opt for Ultima. It’s not nearly as sweet, it has fewer calories and it contains both vitamins and minerals lost during a sweat fest.

Be safe, and drink lots of water!


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[author_info]About the Author

 Lori Rypka is the Prime Parents Club Fitness Contributor, a mom of two wonderful kids first, a writer, wife, friend, personal trainer and marathon runner in training second. She enjoys helping others in their personal journeys toward living healthier lives. The biggest tool in her tool box: humor. Who says dieting can’t be fun? You can find Lori at http://www.fumbledintofitness.com/, or on Twitter as @LoriRypka.

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Lori Rypka has been certified as a personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise since April 2010, and enjoys helping friends find their healthy selves. Follow Lori on her blog at Fumbled Into Fitness.