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How can I exercise during summer?

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
Here are three ways you can squeeze exercise into your summer schedule:

Walk -- Parking at events that draw a crowd is always an issue, and nobody wants to pay event parking prices. When I lived downtown, friends would gather at my place and walk to events. A mile there and a mile back at a moderate pace can burn a couple hundred calories. Even if you don't live in the midst of activities, you can park a mile or so away, burning calories and saving money. Just make sure to wear sensible shoes!
Rather than bathing in the sun, which isn't good for your health, enjoy the weather by rubbing on your sun protection factor (SPF) and walking instead of lying. You may discover a beautiful new neighborhood, dining establishment with a patio, or local shop. Whether you bump into friendly faces or not, you are guaranteed to feel better than if you were lying around.

Hit the trail -- Whether it's a park, a trail, or country roads, most people have somewhere it is safe to walk, run, bike, or in-line skate. In Indianapolis, the Monon trail stretches through most of the city and beyond, and is a great place for a casual walk, a serious run, or socializing your dog. Not only is it an activity-friendly environment, but it's encouraging to see so many different people at different levels of fitness participating in a variety of activities.

Bring on the games -- There may not be any Summer Olympics this year, but you can still get competitive in your own backyard. Set up a volleyball or badminton net, pull out a soccer ball or baseball, or organize three-legged races or ultimate Frisbee at your next cookout or gathering. You might be surprised how much people enjoy participating in "cheesy" events. My parents host a Celtic-themed party each Fall, complete with the backyard version of Scottish games that are always a hit.
During summer time, temperatures can get very high. What’s most important is that you dress and hydrate for exercise accordingly. Wear light clothing that wicks away moisture from the skin. This helps with keeping you cool if you’re out in the sun. Further, pick times to exercise that avoid the hottest parts of the day. Early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is setting are the best and most scenic times to exercise outside. Last, make sure you hydrate adequately. Make sure you bring water along with you, and if exercising longer than an hour, a sports drink with electrolytes will help you stay hydrated during your workout.
The summer is a great reason to get in shape. However, when the weather gets warm, you need to be careful about getting too hot or dehydrated when exercising. It's best to exercise during the times of day that are least hot, such as early in the morning or late evening, and protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen -- if there's light in the sky, you should wear it! If you're forced to work out during the hottest times of the day, go for a swim, or walk around an air-conditioned mall. Any physical activity is better than none! And stay hydrated!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.