Ahh, summer is here. Long days, warm temperatures, outdoor activities, vacation, and relaxed schedules are unmistakable signs that it’s summertime, the perfect time to get in shape, make health goals, get serious about upping your nutrition game, and start an exercise program. Great!
Keep in mind that summer’s heat and humidity can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses, and it’s important to be pro-active and prepared as the temperature goes up, up, up.
How do you make sure you’re staying healthy and well in the summer? Here are a few tips to keep you going strong even when it’s hot as blazes.
Stay hydrated. An easy guideline to follow is to drink half your body weight of water in ounces, so for a 100 pound person, 50 ounces of water a day would be enough. But remember, it’s hot in the summer and if you’re outside and sweating, you’ll need more than this guideline recommends. If you feel thirsty, you may already be de-hydrated. Also, if you stop sweating, you could be dehydrated. To correct this situation, you might be tempted to guzzle a gallon of water all at once, but keep in mind that it’s possible to drink too much water, especially if you drink large amounts all at once, so stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
Get moving! Summer is a great time to take up walking, running, riding a bike, swimming, and so many other activities. Start with something easily do-able, like walking, and then schedule your activity a few times a week to get you started. If you’re having a hard time sticking with it, working out with a friend or group can help make a workout fun instead of a chore and also help with accountability. Avoid strenuous exercise when it’s extremely hot and humid, especially if you’re not conditioned for it.
Dress to stay cool and avoid exerting yourself at the hottest time of day. I sometimes see people wearing a sweat suit or warm ups running in the blazing sun when the temperature is hovering around 95 degrees. Don’t do that! It can increase your core temperature to dangerously high levels and make it very difficult for your body to cool back down to normal temperature, which can put you at risk for serious complications, like heat stroke, extreme dehydration, or worse. If you’re going to be outside for extended time, wear a hat, and loose fitting clothes. If you’re going to be in the sun, wear long sleeves and pants, and/or sunscreen.
Get your ZZZs – Relaxed schedules and longer days can easily disrupt sleep patterns and leave you feeling run down and sleepy. The heat can zap your energy too, so do your best to stick to sleep patterns so that you feel your best all the time.
Up the fruits and vegetables. Take advantage of seasonal produce, visit a farmers market, try new veggie recipes, mix flavors, use fresh herbs to flavor vegetable dishes, and get creative.
Summertime’s a great time to train for a running event or triathlon, get outdoors, play tourist, travel, or take a staycation. Have an adventure and remember to follow these guidelines to keep you safe and healthy throughout the summer months.