Summer. A time of pure joy for diehard outdoor skaters in the Twin Cities. After being cooped up all winter, there's just no better feeling than the sun on your back, the wind in your ears and the trail flying by beneath you. When the new Vikings Stadium is built and the Rollerdome is back in business, you can make do while the snow flies, but summer skating just can't be beat. Here are a few tips to stay cool while you're out on the trails in the heat and humidity.
Avoid peak sun hours
Peak sun hours are generally between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. That's when the sun shines the hottest and people feel its effects the most, which is why most health experts suggest avoiding extensive sun exposure or strenuous outdoor activity during this time. It's all too easy to get overheated and soak up too much sun (sunburn anyone?), so unless your options are limited, try to skate in the early morning or late afternoon/evening when the sun is not as intense. And don't forget the sunscreen and shades!
Drink, drink, drink
It's easy to forget a water bottle when you're out skating, but during the summer it's all the more important to stay hydrated while exercising. You lose a lot of moisture by sweating and the hot sun will naturally zap your energy, so try to compensate by drinking more than your usual intake of water. Water fortified with vitamins and minerals is an added bonus (check the sugar content - too much sugar isn't good and doesn't help anything), but unless you're planning an extra long trek, plain old water will usually do the trick. If you're not a fan of carrying water with you while skating, be sure to take a gulp before and after your workout. And...
Know your limits
Yes, inline skating often elicits feelings of invincibility, but most skaters are only too human. Try not to set any personal records during periods of high heat and humidity, and learn to recognize warning signs of heat exhaustion. It's just not worth it to push your body beyond its limits when it's already working overtime to cope with summer living in Minnesota.
Choose a shady trail
If nothing else, choose a shady trail! Avoid the sun with these scenic, moderately shady trails: