Staying Cool During The Summer Heat!

by / Friday, 11 July 2014 / Published in Health News

People love to be outside in the summer, it’s an exciting time.  From festivals and outdoor concerts to camping and swimming, many people take to the great outdoors this time of year.  For avid exercisers, summertime often means a chance to get out of the gym and get those workouts in while enjoying a scenic view, a little fresh air and that summer heat.  There are dangers to the summer heat and sun though.

Dangers of Heat

Heat stroke, a condition where the body’s core temperature reaches 104 degrees or more is the most severe danger from summer heat.  Heat exhaustion is a not a life-threatening form of heat illness, and it’s much more likely to develop while exercising outside in the summer. While heat stroke is due to overheating, heat exhaustion is caused by the loss of fluids and salts from heavy sweating.

 1. Protect Yourself From the Sun and Heat

The first rule of summer health is to protect yourself from the harmful effects of sun exposure.  Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen every day you step into the sun. Before you begin that long hike or bike ride, make sure you slather on the sunscreen, and keep reapplying according to the label.

In addition to applying sunscreen, you should also wear appropriate clothing. This means lightweight, breathable clothes that don’t restrict your perspiration. Sweating is the main way your body reduces heat, so it’s essential to let yourself sweat in the heat.  Definitely wear a hat.

2. Mind the Timing

Summer heat is most brutal at midday, so avoid heavy exertion outdoors between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., if at all possible.

For active people with allergies or asthma, timing gets a little more restrictive. Pollen and other allergen counts are highest in the morning and right before dusk, so the best time to hit the pavement is usually just after business hours. The exception to this rule is just after a rain shower, when particulates are cleared from the air. If you don’t mind getting wet, you can go out during a light rain, when the air is cooler and practically pollen-free.

3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Keeping yourself hydrated isn’t just something you should do during your summer workouts. It’s something you should do before and after workouts, and every time in between. Proper hydration not only keeps energy up and hunger in check, but it also helps ensure healthy skin and organs. Since dehydration happens most easily when you’re hot or moving, water should be a top priority if you plan on working out in the heat.

When possible, drink at least 20 ounces of fluid two hours before exercising. If you’re an early-morning workout person, it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated the day before an early workout. During your activity, stay hydrated as well as possible by consuming another three to eight ounces every 15 minutes on average for activities lasting less than an hour. If you’re participating in an activity lasting longer than that, make sure to drink a sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes. 

4. Know Your Limits

If you’re out and about for an all-day activity, make sure you rest for at least 10 minutes every hour and hit the shade during breaks if you can. For shorter workouts and in between breaks, make a habit of listening to your body.  Pain, dizziness, tingling and nausea are signs that you’re pushing too hard and should slow things down.  If you’re exerting yourself outside and are feeling overtired, too hot or fatiguing faster than normal, these are all signs of heat’s effect on your body. If you get a hunch you should slow down or stop, listen to it. Heat illness and injury will throw a bigger wrench in your overall routine than quitting early one day.

Manhattan Wellness Group promotes health and well being through chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage and acupuncture.