FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 5, 2012) -- Working out can be hard enough to keep on track, but add in summer heat and it can become downright unbearable, not to mention unsafe.

That's one of the reasons the fitness facilities on Fort Rucker offer ways for authorized patrons to stay out of the heat while staying on track with workouts, according to Amy McDonough, fitness specialist at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility.

"We have everything … from an indoor track at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility … to basketball courts in either gym that people can use to play," she said. "Either you're going to have to exercise early in the morning [to avoid the heat], or you can come into our facilities and work out."

The fitness facilities offer a full range of classes from strength training classes like Cardio Strength Intervals and Functional Athletic Strength Training, to aerobic classes like Zumba and spinning, according to the fitness specialist. For a full list of classes, see sidebar.

The cost for the classes are $3.50 per class individually, $15 for two weeks of unlimited classes, or $30 for one month of unlimited classes, said McDonough, adding that people can come into the fitness facilities and try out any of the aerobic classes for free on their first visit.

Both facilities also offer a full range of top-of-the-line fitness and cardiovascular equipment, strength-training equipment and free weights for people to use as well as a 28-foot climbing wall at Fortenberry-Colton PFF, according to the fitness specialist.

Whether people are working out indoors or outdoors, the most important thing for people to do while exercising is to stay hydrated, she said.

"Drinking water is always best," said the fitness specialist. "You can drink some sports drinks, but water is always No. 1 [when it comes to staying hydrated]."

McDonough, who also teaches spin and Strong Body classes at Fortenberry-Colton PFF, recommends that people hydrate themselves at least one hour before working out, whether outside or in one of the fitness facilities.

"If you know you're going to exercise during the day, drink a glass of water when you wake up," she said. "It's also important to make sure you are hydrated before, during and after you exercise. [Staying hydrated] goes for any time of the year," but more hydration is needed when exercising in hotter environments, she added.

Swimming is a popular exercise in the summer, said the fitness specialist, and although it takes place in water, hydration is just as important.

"People tend to think that since they are swimming, they don't need to stay hydrated as much, which is not true," she said. "You need to hydrate just as much if you're swimming as you would if you were running around."

The first sign that a person may be dehydrated is thirst, said McDonough. People need to know the signs of dehydration, it can lead to heat exhaustion or other heat-related illness, she added.

"The number one test is [for dehydration] is urine color," said the fitness specialist. "If you go to the bathroom and there is color [in your urine], you need to make sure you hydrate yourself."

Other symptoms of impending heat related illness are cramping, dizziness and excessive breathing, she said, adding that prevention is the best medicine.

For more information on classes, call 255-3794.