By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Summer has arrived! If you are like me, you can’t wait to be outside on a consistent basis to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. However, you should always take caution when exercising or being physically active outdoors during the hot summer season.
Any person, at any age, should monitor the temperature and humidity in the summer and be sure to take extra caution when the humidity is high. Humid environments can prevent evaporative cooling from occurring and your body can overheat. Evaporative cooling is the process in which dry air moves across your sweaty skin and evaporates the sweat into the air to cool your body.
Stay hydrated on hot and humid days
If you are out and about on hot and humid days be sure to stay hydrated. Water is preferred, but drinks like unsweetened ice tea, or any electrolyte-containing beverage can help you stay hydrated as well. If you search the Internet, you can find plenty of recommendations about the proper amounts of fluids to consume each day.
While the recommendations are aplenty, do your best to continuously sip on water before, during, and after your time in the sun. Once you feel thirsty, you are probably starting to become dehydrated. No matter how you feel, it is always best to drink water as much as possible to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Staying hydrated is so important because your blood is primarily made of water. When your body becomes dehydrated or low on water, your blood becomes thick and viscous. Thick blood makes your heart work exponentially harder and places an unwanted strain on your entire cardiovascular and nervous system.
Be sure to “drink, drink, drink” plenty of water and fluids throughout the day to stay healthy and active this exciting time of year.
Tips to stay cool outside during the summer:
- Drink cool water throughout the day.
- Wear light, breathable clothes to allow the air to naturally cool your skin.
- Sit in the shade when possible to avoid overheating in the sun.
- Place a cool towel or cooling device on the back of your neck.
- Exercise or be physically active in the morning or in the evening to avoid the peak heat in the afternoon.
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