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Gulf & Main Magazine

Staying Fit in the Florida Heat - Eat a little fruit, exercise with care and cool off properly

Sep 23, 2015 04:40PM ● By Kevin

tired woman runner taking a rest after running hard on city road

When the weather is warm and beautiful here in Southwest Florida (when is it not?), many people seize the opportunity to cool off with some fresh locally grown fruit. Fruit contains natural sugars, however, so it is important to educate yourself about which ones to add to a healthy eating plan, because at the end of the day, sugar is still sugar and should be consumed in small quantities. Berries are the best fruit to add to your daily intake. Other fruits such as bananas, watermelon and pineapple should be eaten sparingly in comparison. I generally recommend only one to two servings of fruit a day.

Exercising in the heat can be a huge challenge—especially when humidity is part of the equation. Taking the proper steps to prevent dehydration and fatigue will need to be implemented long before you step into the heat. Plan your workout for early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperature is a bit lower. Wearing loose clothing made from fabrics that “wick” away sweat from the body will help keep you cool. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise. Consuming electrolyte-enhanced water will help replenish liquids and minerals lost during intense sweating.


fresh fruit salad with raspberry blueberry

Cooling off after a workout is just as important as warming up beforehand. Both should be taken seriously to prevent injury and maximize your health and performance. After exercise, static stretching is a fantastic way to cool your internal body temperature while also getting your heart rate to slow down. With the intensity of the sun here in Southwest Florida, it is best to find a shaded area in which to stretch. Take your time stretching each muscle group and hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds. Rest assured, you will be healthy and feel energized when you are all done.

Written by Michael Stull, a wellness consultant and exercise physiologist with more than 10 years of experience in designing health and wellness programs for individuals and businesses. He can be reached through