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Taking your summer workout outside, safely

Summer is here!! Everything is more fun outside, whether you're swimming, running, hiking or cycling. And those who live in Atlanta or the South really know we get a hot, humid summer! Exercising outside has so many benefits, but during the summer you need to take some precautions to survive. You actually get a much better workout outside during the summer than you do any other time, but here are some tips to do it the right way. You end up burning more calories, challenging your body in new ways and conditioning your heart and lungs.

For me, the biggest problems are usually staying hydrated and maintaining my body's electrolytes. I just can't get enough PowerAde Zero!! When you sweat, your body loses not only water, but electrolytes and salt, too. This delicate balance of water and electrolytes is crucial to keep your body functioning properly.

Top survival tips:

Hydration: The most important! Planning is key for your outdoor workouts, you should drink a few hours prior to even stepping outside. This prepares the body for the heat and the higher level of endurance. Then, carry at least a 16oz bottle with you... for longer workouts think about carrying a hydration pack such as a CamelBak. You should be drinking every 15 minutes or so even if you're not thirsty. I like to drink PowerAde Zero (no sugar, but plenty of electrolytes) or Gatorade's G2 (lower caloried version). Once the workout is over, you should drink plenty more water for recovery. You should be drinking 64oz - 1 gallon of water daily, closer to a gallon on days when you workout outside.

Sunscreen is a must: I use at least 70 SPF on my face and 45 SPF on my body. I always reach for the "sport" version because they are sweatproof and last longer so I don't worry about reapplying while I workout in the park. And remember, you can get sunburned on cloudy days so don't skip it when Mother Nature isn't shining!

Check the weather: I have a couple of fabulous weather apps on my phone that give me conditions for the cities I live in and visit. This helps me plan for what Mother Nature has in store for us. I look at the heat advisory, air pollution and if it's just going to be way too hot for my taste.

Time of day: It does take your body a few days/workouts to get acclimated to the heat so don't be surprised if the first few are harder than you thought they'd be. Unless you're training for an event that runs during the daytime heat, try to avoid exercising from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. These are the hottest parts of the day and you should use the mornings or evenings as your training times. I see people all the time running in Piedmont Park at Noon...these people are crazy!! If you can, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.

Stay Comfortable: Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. The lighter colored, the better so it reflects heat. Also choose "sweat wicking" materials and avoid cotton, it's the worst to wear. My favorite brands are Lucy at East Cobb Avenues and Lululemon Athletica at Around Lenox Shopping center. Add a baesball cap and good sunglasses and you're set!

With these tips in mind, you are now prepared to take your training outside! Grab your water & sunscreen and head to the park to soak up the Vitamin D and boost your training.

Have a happy summer!


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