Tips For Staying Cool This Summer
Below are some precautions you can take to make sure you stay healthy, cool and safe during your outdoor summer activities:
Stay hydrated! Hydration is key to avoiding overheating. To make sure to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (sorry, this does not include alcoholic beverages). This is the minimum needed for replenishing normal body fluids lost through the course of a day. People with active lifestyles and in extreme temperatures will need more. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your body, so if you're drinking alcohol, make sure you're increasing your fluids—and do so responsibly.
Avoid peak hours of the sun. The rays of the sun are the most intense between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid strenuous activities during these times, but if you must, increase your fluid intake and wear a hat to shield yourself from the rays. Don't forget to wear sunscreen, and remember to take regular rest breaks.
Cool eats. Cool summer foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables are high in water content and nutrients. By choosing to enjoy these foods, we can increase our hydration levels, allowing ourselves to cool down. Healthy popsicles or low-fat yogurts are also a great option. Try to enjoy several light meals through the day because eating large quantities makes the body work harder to digest and can increase your body's internal temperature. A full digestive tract will retain body heat longer. Avoid hot foods and cooking next to a hot stove.
Choose the best clothing options. Wear light colors that reflect the sun's rays instead of dark colors that absorb them, causing the body to get warmer. Light weight fabrics and loose fitting styles help evaporate sweat and makes the body's natural cooling process work better. Try to choose clothing made from natural fibers, like cotton. Avoid synthetic materials, like polyester, that do not allow for air to circulate around the skin, increasing heat and not allowing it to dry and cool off.
Exercise. Don’t skip out on your workouts just because it’s too hot. Instead, alter your routine to take advantage of cooler times like early morning or late evening. If you can't change the time of your workout, scale it down by doing fewer minutes, walk instead of run, or decrease your level of exertion. Or, jump on your Spinner® bike at home or take a Spinning® class in an airconditioned, indoor environment.
Sweat is sweet! Sweating is a natural process of cooling off. Perspiration beads up on our skin and as it dries, our bodies feel cooler. Get used to letting the sweat flow, because wiping it off actually slows down the cooling process.
Water fun! Head to the beach, visit your local pool or simply take a shower. These are all great ways to lower your core body temperature.
The shade is your friend. If you’re planning for a long day in the sun, find a tree or overhang nearby to hang out under. Consider purchasing a re-usable canopy or large umbrella for beach and pool trips. You won’t regret it!
Cool air. If you don't have air-conditioning, arrange to spend at least parts of the day in a local coffee shop, store, movie theater, or other public space that is cool. Many cities have cooling centers that are open to the public on sweltering days. Consider adding ceiling fans to your home to move air, as well as attic vents.
Lakus, R. S. (2011). 10 Tips for Staying Cool This Summer. http://www.medicinenet.com
Stoppler, M. C., MD. (2010). 15 Ways to Keep Cool When It’s Hot. http://chartiersvalley.patch.com/articles/10-tips-for-staying-cool-this-summer