Stay Cool & Hydrated During Summer Workouts

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The summer heat is sizzling but you can still enjoy outdoor exercise if you take a few precautions. When it’s hot outside your body sweats to help you cool off and stay cool by evaporating and taking heat away as your sweat evaporates. High humidity can prevent your sweat from evaporating. That’s one of the reasons you feel so miserable on high humidity days. Make sure that you drink enough water to stay hydrated. You can’t rely on how thirsty you feel to stay hydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout.

Drink 2 eight ounce cups of water before you start exercising outdoors on hot days. Drink another 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. Carry a bottle of water if you are biking, walking, jogging or running. When you finish your outdoor workout, drink another 8 ounces of water. You can drink other types of fluids if you get bored with water. Dilute some fruit juice with water or try a sports drink in your favorite flavor. Juice and sports drinks can not only keep you hydrated but also replenish carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes. Many sports drinks increase your blood sugar which can become depleted during exercise. Avoid energy drinks that contain caffeine as these can actually increase dehydration and increase your heart rate.

Don’t push yourself too hard when the temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Exercise indoors in an air conditioned gym if the weather is too hot or humid. Learn the warning signs of heat illness. Muscle cramps, headache, dizziness and fatigue may be signs of serious heat illness. Stop exercising, rest and re-hydrate your body. See a doctor if symptoms persist.

Diet Damaging Drinks

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You’ve been watching what you eat, cutting down on calories and getting exercise, but for some reason you just aren’t losing weight fast enough. Have you given much thought to the beverages you enjoy every day? When you are trying to limit calories, don’t overlook the calories hiding in your cup or glass. Fancy coffee drinks, alcohol drinks and even fruit smoothies contain hundreds of diet damaging calories that can interfere with achieving your weight loss goals.
Soda is one of the worst drinks for dieters and anyone who is concerned about watching their weight or controlling the sugar in their diet. The average soda contains several hundred calories and is loaded with sugar. The calories in regular soda are empty calories, meaning you consume hundreds of calories but receive little to no nutritional benefit. Switching to diet soda or sugar-free soda can help, but you may not be able to lose weight by switching to diet soda alone. 
Natural fruit juice contains plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to stay healthy. But, did you know that fruit juice may also contain several hundred calories in just one short glass? Look for fruit juices that are 100 percent juice. Avoid juice drinks or blended fruit-flavored drinks. These types of drinks usually contain 10 percent or less actual fruit juice and contain lots of sugar. Mix  your fruit juice with some cold water to cut down on calories. 
Unless you make your own fruit smoothies, you may be getting little fruit and mostly fruit concentrate, artificial flavors and sugar. Some smoothie shops blend real fruit with sweeteners like ice cream or honey, which can put the calorie count through the roof! Make your own healthy, low-calories, nutrient-rich fruit smoothies at home by blending bananas, strawberries, a splash of 100 percent orange juice or a fresh orange with ice and skim milk. 

Flavored vitamin water is another drink that can sneak in extra calories. Some flavored vitamin water contains sugar. Select flavored water that contains no sugar or make your own flavored water. Refrigerate water until it’s cold. Flavor it naturally with lemon juice or add some sliced strawberries to a glass of cold water for a delicious, refreshing drink. Drink a couple of glasses of water before every meal to help you feel more full to avoid overeating and to stay hydrated. 

Are You Undoing Your Diet With Beverages?

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Cutting back on calories and exercising more are essential to losing weight and getting fit. If you are eating less and exercising more but you aren’t losing weight as fast as you think you should be, examine your beverages. Most of us are careful about the foods we eat, but beverages can undo your diet, too. Some beverages can ruin your diet by adding empty calories, which can be stored as fat. It may seem obvious to switch to diet soda or drink sugar-free beverages, but other drinks can be just as diet-destroying as sugary sodas. 
A bottle of fruit juice may contain as many calories as a regular soda. The trade-off is that fruit juice is rich in nutrients that your body needs. Fruit “drinks” and fruit “cocktails” often contain as little as 10% real fruit juice. Select only 100% fruit juices without added sugar. Vegetables juices are as nutritious as fruit juice but contain about half the calories. The trade-off with vegetable juice is, instead of sugar, vegetable juices often contain a lot of sodium. Look for low-sodium or no-added-salt versions of your favorite vegetable juice. Read the label on your favorite juice drink to find a blend that does not contain extra sugar or salt. 
A cool smoothie seems like it would be low in calories and high in nutrition, but this is not always the case. Restaurants may use honey, corn syrup or even ice cream to sweeten a fruit smoothie and send your caloric intake through the roof. Your best option is to blend your own smoothies at home so that you control the ingredients to avoid extra sugar and empty calories. Blend some blueberries, a banana and some strawberries with skim milk for a delicious, low-calorie, high fiber, nutritious beverage. 
Plain coffee contains zero calories and has antioxidants that are beneficial. When you add whipped cream, flavored syrups and sugar you have a diet bomb in a cup. Specialty and fancy coffee drinks can contain almost 600 calories per cup. If you don’t like plain coffee, use low-calorie flavorings and artificial sweeteners to avoid extra calories. Green tea is another zero calorie drink to consider. Water is the best choice to stay hydrated and cut calories. Drink a couple of glasses of water before dinner to help you feel more full to avoid over-eating.