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The Workout: Beat the Heat

When the mercury creeps into the uncomfortable zone, try a cool new workout.

High summer temperatures have become frequent visitors this summer. While ice cream sales are probably up, many exercise routines are down, since exertion during a heat wave can be dangerous. But instead of looking at the heat as an obstacle, view it as an opportunity to mix things up.

If you are usually a mid-day exerciser, try getting up to run in the pre-dawn hours when temperatures are more moderate, or wait until evening to hit the pavement. That may mean you have to run or bike with a headlamp for safety, but consider it a part of the adventure. Your regular running route may have a completely different feel in the early morning or late evening. 

A heat wave is also a great excuse to try something completely different, like an exercise class at an air conditioned studio. If you've been wanting to check out spinning, yoga, or Zumba, this is the perfect time to give it a shot. But be sure to bring a water bottle and refill as needed. Just because you're indoors doesn't mean you won't get dehydrated. 

A hot day is also the ideal time to gather up the whole family and hit the beach or the pool for a swim workout. Swimming is great all-over exercise and getting in the water will be a welcome respite from the heat. You can splash around just for fun, or if you're looking for something more structured, check out this swim workout from Women's Health Magazine.

Some people (myself included) love the water, but don't like to swim. Fortunately, it's possible to enjoy the lake without getting wet. Canoeing and kayaking are great hot weather activities, and rentals are available at the Glencoe Park District, Gillson Beach, and the Skokie Lagoons. You can also try the latest popular water-sport, Stand-up Paddle Boarding. SUP is a great core workout and a fun way to get out on the water. Northwest Passage offers lessons at Gillson Beach or Skokie Lagoons.

No matter what activity you choose, however, be sure to hydrate. Experts recommend drinking water before, during, and after a workout, as well as using a sports drink to replenish electrolytes. And keep in mind that while you may have to cut back on your activities when the weather is hot, the heat wave won't last forever. Think cool thoughts, and remember that winter will be here before we know it.  

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