If you haven't noticed - it's hot out there! While everyone enjoys the sunshine, it's important to remember that heat can be dangerous. Prolonged exposure to heat and humidity without the proper precautions can lead to cramping, fainting, and even heatstroke. Here's 5 tips to beat the heat and stay healthy!
#1 Drink LOTS of water
This one should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway. On any given day, you should be drinking at least 8 8-oz glasses of water. That's water, not liquid. On a humid summer day or a day when you're out in the sun, you should be taking in closer to a gallon of water throughout the day. Be conscious of your intake, it's important! Squeeze in a lemon and you're good to go.
#2 Avoid caffeine and alcohol
At graduation parties and BBQs, think before you sip. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you (that would be the opposite of drinking water!) You don't have to completely pass on these beverages, but moderation is key. Try alternating them with a bottle of water to counteract the dehydration. For every alcoholic beverage or can of pop, add an extra 8-oz glass of water to your to-do list.
#3 Eat your fruits and vegetables
When it's hot outside, it's best to eat smaller/lighter meals more often. You need to make sure that you are replacing what your body is losing through sweat. Fruits and vegetables are the best way to do it. They are re-hydrating because they are almost all water. They will also replenish the nutrients lost through perspiration. Another tip: avoid fried foods when you're spending time in the sun. Instead, try leaner sources of good fats like grilled salmon.
#4 Seek out shade
Whether you're spending the day by the pool or at a picnic, locating the shade before you need it is a great habit. Taking shade breaks are a great way to limit sun exposure. Don't forget, even when the sun is hiding behind a cloud, it can still get you - look for real shade and don't count on cloud cover. If there's no shade, think about a light long sleeve shirt and hat to limit the rays.
#5 Exercise in the morning or evening
Running the Lake at North Park in the middle of a 90 degree day is not being tough, it's unhealthy and dangerous. Exercising when the humidity and sun are low decreases the risk of heat-related problems. If you miss the sweat of running in the heat, add an extra lap or hand and ankle weights for a more intense workout. And if the humidity doesn't drop? Hit the gym or do a workout video indoors - basically resort to your winter routine. If that makes you sad, try working out by the window or in a sun room.
Those are 5 quick tips to stay healthy in heat waves. Let's enjoy them safely while they last; we'll miss them when winter's here again!