Summer is considered the busiest, most active time of the year for many people. The kids are out of school, the days are longer, and summer vacation may be just around the corner. Often we look forward to summer all year with a desire to be outside in the sun as much as possible.
While we may not like to think about the potential dangers of too much time outdoors in summer, in order to have the healthiest, happiest summer possible, certain precautions must be taken.
- Use sunscreen every day. Everyone knows that sunscreen prevents skin cancer and limits premature aging, but most of us don’t use sunscreen unless we plan to spend the entire day outdoors basking in the sun at the beach or the pool. The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that even intermittent sun exposure on an overcast day can lead to dangerous sunburns. Put on sunscreen before you head outdoors, and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day to enjoy the longer summer days without damaging your skin.
- Avoid excessive exertion in the heat. Heat stroke affects everyone, not just the ill or the elderly. If you’re planning to spend a summer day outside when the temperature and humidity are high, drink plenty of water and be sure to slow down or head indoors if you feel tired, have a headache or notice that you’re having difficulty breathing. Take advantage of FitClub’s air conditioned facilities and indoor pools and move your summer workouts indoors!
- Drink more water. By now, we all know that drinking more water is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The summer heat and humidity make staying hydrated even more important. The summer heat means that you are sweating more and the water from your body needs to be replaced. Water also helps the body maintain its normal core body temperature and avoid overheating. Pay attention to any signs of thirst, dry mouth, or headache and as a best practice, make sure you drink plenty of water before you head out into the sun and hydrate well before you start to feel thirsty.
- Eat carefully. If you’re headed to an outdoor barbeque this summer, be cautious about what foods you choose in the heat. Foods that cause your body to eliminate water, known as “diuretic foods,” can cause you to dehydrate more quickly. Avoid caffeinated beverages when the temperatures rise. Protein is also more difficult for the body to digest when it’s hot outside. Even though meat off the grill is a summer tradition for many people, the body’s processes create heat to digest the proteins in meat which may lead to a higher than healthy body temperature or stomach trouble. Limit the amount of meat you consumer, and instead take advantage of the season’s fresh produce!
What tips and tricks do you use to stay safe and healthy in the summer heat?