It's hot out there!

Summertime has arrived all along the Miami Valley Trails. Summertime temperatures in Dayton, Ohio average 73 degrees Fahrenheit, which sounds very pleasant. But remember an average means half the days will be warmer than that. If fact, the National Weather Service predicts a 46% chance that the average temperature for this summer in Dayton will be above that long term average of 73. So if you're going to be out experiencing the Miami Valley Trails over the next few months, be sure to be prepared for warm (or even hot) days.

Here are some things to think about for your time on the trails:

1. Clothing. Are you wearing clothes that make sense for today's weather? Moisture-wicking, light-colored clothing is best for hot days. Dark gear can make you even hotter. Helmets, packs or other padding can compound the heat, so if you're using those consider exercising in shorter durations.

2. Time of day. The hottest hours of the day come between about 2 and 5 in the afternoon here in the Miami Valley. Can you arrange your outing to be indoors for part of that time? Or to be doing less intense exercise during those hottest times? Remember, the sun sets well after 8 PM this time of year in the Miami Valley - lots of time to get in an evening outing.

3. Duration. Think about breaking up your trail experience into shorter bursts of activity and more breaks for recovery and hydration. There are so many great places to stop and see along the Miami Valley Trails. Take your time.

4. Hydration and Nutrition. Exercising in the heat takes a lot out of you - more than you may realize. There are plenty of rules of thumb about hydration; bikers often say one water bottle per hour of cycling. So carry more than one for a long day of hot cycling. Walkers and runners need water, too, so be sure to know where you can re-fill throughout your journey. And remember that hydration BEFORE, DURING and AFTER exercise is important and have unique benefits. 

5. Sun protection. Longer sleeves, longer shorts and wide-brimmed hats make for great protection from the strong sun and harmful rays. Water-resistant (sweat-resistant) sunscreen with a good SPF of say 30 or more will further help prevent sunburn. Don't forget the tops of your feet!

Ugh! Seems like a lot, huh? Well, we don't want to discourage anyone from getting out on the Nation's Largest Paved Trail Network. We just want you to get out there in a safer, smarter way. Happy Summer!!

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