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Beat the Heat: Your Guide to Staying Fit Through Summer Heat Waves

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Summer’s sweltering sun and high humidity can definitely put a damper on your workout. But don’t let the dog days of summer deter you from staying fit. Working out in the heat (in a healthy and cautious way) can actually help you burn more fat and calories. These six simple adjustments will help you keep your hot-weather workouts safe and effective:

1. Hydrate with more than just H2O.

Sure, water is always a good choice, but on really hot days you might want more than that to keep yourself from dehydrating. Sports drinks contain sodium that helps your body replenish and retain fluids that are lost through sweat. If you are heavily exercising for more than an hour, you could benefit from a 20 oz. bottle of a sports drink (one for every hour you exercise, starting in the second hour) to replace your carbohydrates and electrolytes. If you’re not exercising that long, water will do.

2. What you wear matters.

Dark colors absorb heat, causing you to feel warmer, faster. Instead, opt for a light-colored wicking fabric. You’ll want bright shorts and tanks that are loose fitting to allow air to circulate over your skin and keep you cool.

3. Air conditioning is your friend.

Indoor workouts are essential during summer’s hottest days. Even the most physically fit people can overheat during treacherously high temperatures. If temperatures are above 80 degrees or the humidity index is above 60 percent, it’s easy to get heat exhaustion—when your body can no longer effectively cool itself down. Take in an indoor spin class, run on the treadmill or do weight training. One day indoors won’t ruin your routine.

4. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

The summer sun can leave lasting troubles beyond a little extra sweat on your skin. If you’re not careful you could end up with a sunburn, which over time increases your risk for skin cancer. Even if skies look cloudy, make sure to apply a shot glass worth of oil-free sunscreen, that won’t run off if you get sweaty or irritate your eyes, before you head outside.

5. Keep your cool.

Our bodies have specific areas that when targeted can quickly cool you down. Areas like your neck and wrists (pulse points) are a great place to start. Place a cool towel around your neck and feel your body temperature lower almost instantly. A lower body temperature will recirculate your blood and keep you cool for up to an hour.

6. When in doubt, workout in water.

Whether it’s a run in the rain or a water aerobics class, the best way to keep your body temperature down, while you raise your heart rate is to immerse yourself in water. Even better—take advantage of summer’s super fun games and toys. Run through the sprinklers, slide across a slip-and-slide, break out the water balloons—you’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize you’ve just worked out.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.