Where to Regain Your Cool Wilting from the heat of summer and a demanding travel schedule? Here's how you can work out without having a meltdown.
By Dimity McDowell

(Business 2.0) – You're on a business trip, and you have two hours between meetings. It's time for your midday run. But the thermometer is giving you 95 reasons not to get out there, and the humidity is chiming in with 95 more. Fortunately, in these five cities, there's a better option than pounding the pavement. Log your miles in an oasis bordered by cement or sand and you'll emerge ready to face the sweltering heat outside--not to mention all the hot air that will be blowing around in your next client's air-conditioned conference room. -- DIMITY MCDOWELL

SANTA CLARA, CA

GEORGE F. HAINES INTERNATIONAL SWIM CENTER Less than 10 miles from the tech HQs of San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino, you can tune out Silicon Valley and channel Olympic visions at the International Swim Center. The 50-meter outdoor pool is an aquatic field of dreams where gold medalists from Mark Spitz to Pablo Morales have honed their strokes. Sandwiched between early-morning and evening Masters sessions is an hour-long, noontime lap swim. Bring your own goggles and cap, but not much else: The locker room has no lockers. Noon swim, $1.75; Masters workout, $5; 2625 Patricia Dr.; 408-243-7727; cho.ci.santa-clara.ca.us/3048.html.

DENVER

THE ATHLETIC CLUB AT DENVER PLACE The posh Athletic Club, near the Mile High City's downtown hotels, caters to the business set. Whether it's 5 a.m. or 9 p.m., you'll be welcome in the three-lane, 25-meter pool. When you hop out, you have myriad other exercise options, courtesy of a huge workout space, or you can decompress in a whirlpool or sauna. The towels are fluffy, there are ample grooming supplies, and the big lockers keep your suit--the Armani, not the Speedo--wrinkle-free. Order a post-workout latte from the locker room phone and then pick it up at the in-house Starbucks. $15; 1849 Curtis St.; 303-294-9494; www.acdp.com.

AUSTIN

CASTLE HILL SPECIALIZED FITNESS Need a quick workout? Castle Hill has three 14- by 7-foot individual pools that each generate an adjustable current. Think less about the fact that you're in a bizarre aquatic treadmill and appreciate that, without flip turns or a chance to slack off against the water's rush, you'll get ample exercise in little time. The boutique gym is in the heart of the capital; call at least an hour in advance to reserve a pool. $12; 1112 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite B; 512-478-4567; www.castlehillfitness.com.

MIAMI

CRANDON PARK BEACH No, you haven't died and gone to heaven. Quite the opposite, in fact: You're just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami. Nonetheless, Crandon's calm blue water, clean sand, and palm-tree-studded backdrop will have you thinking you're a world away. Those just looking to cool off will appreciate the massive sandbar, while the more ambitious can swim long laps in the lagoon. Rinse at an onsite shower and you're set for the return to, ahem, civilization. Parking, $4; 4000 Crandon Blvd., Key Biscayne; 305-361-5421; www.miamidade.gov/parks/Parks/crandon_beach.htm.

NEW YORK

ASPHALT GREEN AQUACENTER It's hard to imagine "elbow room" and "Manhattan" in the same sentence, but your outlook changes once you get a load of the 5.5-acre Asphalt Green sports complex. There are two gyms, a fitness center with views, and an eight-lane Olympic-size pool. A Masters team meets regularly, or you can just rack up laps on your own virtually any time of day. Don't forget to pack a towel and lock--after all, this is still New York. $20; 1750 York Ave.; 212-369-8890; www.asphaltgreen.org.