Beat the Heat: Basic Heat Wave Relief Tips

thermometerThe Northeast and parts of the Midwest have been undergoing unbelievable temperatures this week resulting in the first official heat wave of the summer season.  Ugh!  I’m in Florida and we’ve been dealing with the heat, humidity, and daily rains that are typical for us this time of year.  Luckily, we haven’t had triple digit weather!  It sounds like meteorologists are forecasting some rain for this weekend and with it, hopefully, some relief but, in the meantime, I thought we’d talk about some ways to beat the heat.  I’ve got some basics here for you today and will follow up next week with a few more posts including yummy fruit water, a cooling herbal spray, and even some cooling foods.

Water!

You know the drill…  Get your 8 cups daily.  But in the heat, it’s important to drink more because you lose so much of your body’s hydration through sweat.  If you’re going to be outside for any extended amount of time or working out in the heat, be sure to have a sports drink or snack to replenish the electrolytes and salt that you lose through sweat.  Coconut water is a great alternative to the sugary sports drinks: it has more potassium and natural sodium than the sports drinks on the market.  Wellness Mama has a great recipe for making your own sports drink, too!

Timing Your Workout

If you are going to be outside, try to avoid the hottest hours of the day which usually fall between 10:00am and 3:00pm.  If you workout outdoors, definitely try to plan to get out in the early hours of the day or later in the evening when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the sun isn’t so extreme.  Try not to do any intense workouts if you’re not used to the heat because you’ll reach your target heart rate much quicker.  As a reaction to heat, your body will increase blood flow to the skin in an effort to cool off.  This means that there is less blood flow to your muscles and an increased heart rate.

Clothing and Sunscreen

Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing will help perspiration (your body’s way of cooling itself) evaporate from your skin.  Lighter colors won’t absorb as much heat from the sun and wearing a hat will help keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes.  Be sure to wear sunscreen: sunburn will keep your skin from cooling off and it’s dehydrating.

Check out my post Be Sun Smart! for some more helpful tips.

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