The Biggest Myth About Summer Fitness

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You can’t work out outside in the summer.

That’s the biggest - silliest - myth you will hear about outdoor fitness in Phoenix or Scottsdale, and anybody who is out on hiking or running or biking trails early in the morning knows there is lots of company out there.

The key question: how to do this so it is fun - and safe.

Do three things and very likely you will be fine and, honestly, it is lots of fun to work out in the dry air of the Valley of the Sun.

Step One: Drink Lots of Water

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The Arizona Department of Health Services offers this advice: “People that spend time outdoors should drink 1 to 2 liters per hour that they are outdoors. People that do strenuous activity outdoors should be very careful, being your body can lose up to 4 liters of water per hour during strenuous activity. You should carry water with you and drink even if you do not feel thirsty.”

More advice, from veteran Maricopa runners, is the water you drink before you go outdoors matters, a lot. Hydrate and do it liberally.

Isn’t that a lot of water to carry if you plan, say, a six-mile hike or to run a 10K? Indeed. That’s why many Arizonans wear what amounts to special water backpacks that hold a half gallon or more of water. Carry the water on your back and you won’t notice it after the first few runs - and it is always there if you need it.

Word of advice - many Arizona hiking trails have no available water. Bring your own water to guarantee your safety.

Step Two: Start Early, Finish By Noon

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Here is hourly temperature data in Fountain Hills, Arizona, on July 28, 2015:

At 7 a.m. the temperature was 88 F.

By noon it was 92 F.

By 5 pm it was 103 F, the high for the day.

Early risers often are out before 6 a.m. The sun is bright in the desert and the air is cool.

It is easy to carve out 5 or 6 hours of pleasant temperatures every morning.

Step Three: Use Sunblock

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Step three: use sun block, wear a hat, and - advice from many outdoors veterans - is wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. It might seem cooler to go with shorts and short sleeves but you may pay the price with sunburn.

Bonus step four: when all else fails, use an indoor fitness facility - and plan to do that for afternoon and early evening workouts. Copperwynd Resort, for instance, offers a huge fitness facility--5,000 square feet complete with dozens of machines and also dozens of classes.

When it just feels too hot to go outside - and some days it may especially if you have missed your morning workout - plan to stay indoors.

Oh, and keep drinking water even when indoors. The low humidity in Phoenix makes all of us thirsty.