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Summer In the City

Ten ideas to keep summer exercise routines cool during the summer heat.

New York City and the surrounding areas can get pretty hot and humid during July and August, but that shouldn't interfere with your outdoor exercise.

Let me offer you 10 easy-to-follow ideas. I personally use these methods with my firefighter and civilian clients who train in the great outdoors that will help you stay cool while exercising this summer season.

  1. Put Time on your Side: Workout either early morning or late evening, or find a shaded area to train in. There can be as much as 10 degrees difference from sunny to shady areas.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water 20 minutes before starting, and immediately upon cessation, and during the program, if at all possible. Dehydration can be sneaky, and if you wait until you feel thirst, it's tool late, you'll already be heading towards dehydration.
  3. Keep a Dry Towel Handy: Keep a soft towel or cloth handy, to dry your face and neck. The sweat carries away heat as it evaporates. In humid weather, there's less evaporation of perspiration on your skin's surface, and subsequently less cooling.
  4. Adjust Intensity: To allow for the overexertion that comes with dealing with high temps, reduce overall workout intensity by at least 10 percent. When attempting to simultaneously cool you down, your body will be working just as hard.
  5. Cool Down Inside: Perform stretches or other cool down exercises indoors, in a well ventilated or air conditioned area. Stretching and most resistance training can be brought inside if necessary.
  6. Cotton and Loose Fitting Clothes: Wear light shorts and tee-shirts or tank tops made of light colored cotton. There are many fabrics out there that whisk away sweat, but for cool comfort, cotton tops rule. Synthetic shorts are fine, but make sure they're loose fitting.
  7. Vary your Method of Exercise: Whatever mode of exercise you favor, include some stuff you can do indoors. Even hardcore runners can benefit from indoor work such as circuit-training.
  8. Cover your Head: A light cap (vented), with a visor can do the trick here. Keep the sun off and let the heat out.
  9. Get Wet: Swimming is great exercise and you'll always stay cool when immersed in the wet stuff.
  10. Don't Eat: Stay away from heavy meals before exercise, as digestion can cause your body to heat up. Eat after you workout, and when your body has had a chance to cool down.

Mike Stefano, retired FDNY captain, is the author and creator of The Firefighter's Workout. For more information and firefighter task-specific training, visit Captain Mike's website at: