Sweat it Smart

It's not the heat; it's the stupidity! Don't make excuses this summer for not working out.

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Summer is the best time to obsess about the weather. Check the forecast, and if "Storm" predicts consecutive days of high temps, avoid back-to-back outdoor sessions. The effect of the heat is cumulative, so break it up with an indoor activity, take a rest day or opt for a swim.

For people whose idea of fun in the sun does not include exercise, swimming is a great alternative. If you never learned, summer is the perfect time to take swim lessons that may one day save your life. And no tired excuses about sinking or not wanting to get your hair wet. It's too important. Everyone needs to know how to be safe in and around water. The CDC found that the unintentional drowning rate for African Americans across all ages was 1.3 times that of whites. For African-American children ages 5 to 14, the fatal drowning rate was 3.2 times that of white children in the same age range.

World Champion gold medalist and Olympic hopeful Cullen Jones has become the spokesperson for this issue and knows first hand about the importance of learning to swim. At age 5, Jones nearly drowned at a water park when his inner tube overturned and he was trapped underneath. He was rescued by his father and a lifeguard and since then, swimming has become his mission and passion. And although he still talks about having to overcome his own family's stereotypes about why we can't/won't swim, Jones believes that it should be as important a part of our childhood as running.

To find a place to take lessons, contact recreation centers, community pools and schools in your area. And look for information put out by The USA Swimming Foundation. They've partnered with the YMCA to offer free or low-cost lessons across the country. To learn more go to www.makeasplash.org.

Alicia Villarosa is a longtime health and fitness professional and personal trainer. Her blog, Bargain Biatch, is about living lux for less.

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