Any weather extreme, freezing to blazing hot, is not enjoyable for most people. In upstate New York, the summer heat and humidity seem to be here. I enjoy the heat and the sun, but humidity is not ideal. No matter what you are doing- working, walking, sleeping, even just sitting- seems to take enormous effort and a ton of sweat. It’s easy for anyone to become dehydrated and exhausted, no matter what your age or fitness level is. So here are some simple tips to get through the sultriest of summer days:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink plenty of fluids. Unfortunately, beer and spiked seltzers do not count! Be sure to choose fluids low in sugars and high in electrolytes, like water and Powerade. Try to avoid high sodium drinks as they will increase your blood pressure and temperature; electrolytes will replace any minerals that you lose through sweating. There are also a lot of powders that you can add to water to help keep you hydrated. My husband and I use Beachbody’s Hydrate on a regular basis; it tastes like lemonade. By taking in enough of the correct fluids, you will actually keep your body temperature down. You will know if you are taking in enough fluids if your urine is light yellow and you do not feel thirsty.
- Try to avoid hot foods and hot kitchens. Substitute that hot open roast beef or turkey sandwich for a deli wrap with fresh fruit or a salad. Heavy meals, like steak and macaroni and cheese, are harder for your body to digest and cause your body to warm up. Go for a lighter meal of sushi, salads, cold fruit or veggies, or a sandwich.
- Use loose cotton fabrics. Wear loose cotton tops and shorts-those tight denim cut-offs are just going to make your butt sweat. Use cotton sheets; they are lighter than fleece and breathe easier to help you stay cool while you sleep.
- Take a cool shower or jump in the pool! A refreshing shower or dip in the pool will not only cool you off but will rinse off any sweat and body odor. If you can get to a pool, then take the day off! Just kidding! Try running cool water on your pulse points, like your wrists, and splashing some cold water on your face and neck.
- Acclimate to the weather. This goes for whatever the weather, cold or hot, when it will last for more than two weeks. Just as in exercise, you must make yourself a little uncomfortable to get a change. Start with a brisk walk, jog, or even yard work, adding 10 mins each day. Try increasing the temperature of your AC by 1 degree each day; If you have it set at 76 today, then try 77 tomorrow, 78 the next day, etc. Keep your physical limits in mind; do not push too hard. If you get light-headed or start breathing heavy, stop immediately.
Know the difference between Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion!
Heat Stroke –
- body temperature at or above 104 degrees F. How you take your temperature is up to you…
- Altered mental state (agitation, confusion, disorientation) and physical state (slurred speech, staggering, convulsions)
- Dizziness, headache, nausea
- Red or flushed skin color
- Rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat
- Muscle weakness and muscle cramps
- Dry skin
Heat Exhaustion –
- Headache, nausea, dizziness, fainting
- Excessive thirst
- Agitation, anxiety, confusion
- Excessive sweating, prickly skin
- Muscle cramps and weakness
- Weak heartbeat
Anyone can experience Heat Stroke without getting Heat Exhaustion! If you or anyone with you experiences any of these symptoms, get that person out of the sun/heat immediately and bring them to medical care right away.
Be safe out there!