How about this heat, huh?
It’s no surprise that this summer is already getting hot. What is surprising is just how easily that extra hot day can lead to heat exhaustion, or worse yet, heatstroke.
Dr. G knows how it is important to stay active during these summer months while remaining sun smart.
Follow these tips from Dr. G and you’ll be able to remain heat healthy no matter how hot it gets.
EXERCISE SMART, REST OFTEN
Everyone wants to get some outdoor exercise on a nice sunny day, but you have to be smart about it. As you exercise, your body temperature can rise as high as 104˚ Fahrenheit. Performing in hot environments, coupled with this rise in body temperature, can easily lead to overheating.
Start with low-impact activities and be aware of your heart rate throughout. Be sure to take plenty of breaks throughout your exercise routine and above all else, pace yourself.
Make your water bottle your best friend.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it can’t be stressed enough. You have to stay hydrated throughout the summer if you want to stay healthy. Whether you’re running a marathon or talking a walk around the block, any kind of physical exertion can be taxing. When you’re already in a hot environment, physical activities will cause you to sweat more than normal. This further drains your body of critical fluids.
Just one hour of moderate exercise can lead to the loss of more than a quart of water from your body. Without replacing these fluids you can become dangerously susceptible to exhaustion and potentially heat stroke.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
If you’re going to be active while outdoors when it’s hot out, be conscious of what you’re wearing. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing that allows proper ventilation and full range of motion. Tight-fitting and dark clothing holds in heat and inhibits sweat evaporation.
Wear open toe sandals and only lightweight hats that do not block your body a means for heat to dissipate. Keep a cold compress or cool towel around your neck or chest. This will dramatically cool your body in a pinch.
SEEK THE SHADE
Just because we love the sun doesn’t mean we have to spend every waking hour under its rays. Even while we’re outside enjoying the day we can stay physically active the smart way by seeking out the shade.
Even if you’re outside to read a good book or listen to the crickets do so in the shade. Whether it’s under the shade of a tree, the side of a building, or simply underneath a shade umbrella or tent, avoiding direct exposure to the sunlight can keep your heart rate lower for a longer period of time, further eliminating the risk of overheating.
People who reside in regions where temperatures are traditionally hotter over longer periods of time may appear to handle the heat better than those that do not. This is thanks to acclimatization.
Once your body acclimates to a hotter environment, you will perspire sooner and at increased levels. The effect also raises your blood plasma volume. As these physiological acclimations occur you will be able to exercise longer and with more intensity in the heat with less risk of overheating.
Not allowing your body to acclimatize to a hot environment can lead to rapid electrolyte depletion. Without electrolytes muscle contraction, fatigue, and inability to maintain a proper rate of perspiration can easily occur.
As these summer months ramp up, be sure to take it easy at first. Allow your body to adjust to the increase in temperature and you’ll be well on your way to beating the heat.
Keep these Heat Health tips in mind while you’re out enjoying these sun-soaked summer days. If you’d like to learn more ways to not only stay healthy but feel great, be sure to stop by Dr. G’s website for more resources.