Stay Fit, Keep Cool

by Jeffrey Bridgman

It’s tempting to become lazy during the dog days of summer and neglect getting a healthy dose of exercise. Why would we opt to go out in the sweltering heat when we can hold up in our air-conditioned fortresses endlessly entertaining ourselves with videos, games, movies and music? Although it’s difficult to get motivated when you look at it that way, we need to get outside on a regular basis, even when it’s really hot and humid. So here are a few ways to keep outdoors exercise cool in the summer heat.

Take a Dunk
The best way to cool down in summer is with water. Keep things interesting and get creative by going swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, tubing down a river, making a slip-n-slide in the yard, visiting a water-park, or even starting a water-balloon war—the options are endless. Even if we don’t get into the water, a hike along a river or stream, or a trek to a nearby waterfall through the shaded woods can be very refreshing.

Spin Your Wheels
I’m spending the summer in Austin, Texas, and finding it’s a rather bicycle-friendly city. Though the need for a helmet keeps the wind from blowing through my hair, cutting through air at 30 miles per hour is still pretty breezy. To make it even cooler, try riding in the shade or alongside water. Austin has an abundance of shaded trails along the river, as do many well-conceived urban biking routes.
In the alternate, bike to a beach, swimming hole or waterfall, then spend a few minutes wading through the water to cool hands and feet before the return trip. Finally, scheduling rides for before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., will avoid the hottest part of the day.

Go Underground
Ever been spelunking? Better known as “caving,” it’s a great way to be in nature but out of the heat. Caves temperatures remain constant most of the year, which means they are relatively warm in the winter and cool in the summer—nature’s own air conditioning system! Check out to find a cave tour near you as a first step. Caution: Caving can become addictive (ask me how I know!).

Factor in Water and Sun
Whatever your summer sport, don’t forget to stay well hydrated. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen. If you fear the possible embarrassment of random white splotches of unblended sunscreen in your facial recesses, try the spray-on varieties. A cool shower can fix being hot, but it won’t do anything for being burned. Only time – extremely painful and uncomfortable time – will get rid of that. So don’t be a blockhead and forget the sunblock!
Don’t let the heat turn you into a baked couch potato! Get outdoors today for some cool summer fun and fitness.

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