Handle the heat: how to stay cool in the summer sun
New Jerseyans are sure to welcome the summer heat after the winter we’ve had, but there’s a limit to everything, and at some point it simply gets too hot.
Whether you’re exercising outdoors, walking to the store or sitting on the beach, too much heat without adequate cooling can have some serious consequences. Dangerously high temperatures can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke, and getting too hot can even make you sick when the body loses its ability to cool itself off.
These problems can become even more severe in high humidity since sweat doesn’t evaporate as easily, which can prevent the body from releasing heat as quickly as it needs to. Certain people are also at an increased risk of complications from excessive heat due to difficulty cooling off, such as the elderly, the very young and people who are overweight or have poor circulation or heart disease.
Strenuous physical activity, though strongly recommended by Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, can be dangerous in these weather conditions as well and should be performed indoors on incredibly hot days.
Between common sense and these explanations provided, it should be clear that staying cool in the summer heat is extremely important. Keeping your body cool can also help regulate your mood, as heat can exacerbate stress, tension and frustration. Here are some simple, effective tips to help you stay cool this summer:
- When it comes to exercising, try to only do so outdoors during cooler times (early morning or late evening) and pace yourself, or scale down your level of intensity; as an alternative, join a gym and exercise in air conditioning
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of light colors, that’s made of cotton instead of synthetic materials
- Stay hydrated at all times with water and sports drinks, even when you’re not thirsty; avoid caffeine and alcohol, which will dehydrate you more
- Eat foods to help you stay cool like salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding any hot foods or junk food, which is difficult to digest
- Try to stay in air conditioned rooms as much as possible
- Use a spray bottle filled with water and/or a personal fan when outdoors
- If possible, stay out of the sun when it’s hottest between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Check the forecast and plan ahead, especially when temperatures are expected to be incredibly high; consider staying indoors on these days
Extreme heat shouldn’t be a reason to stop exercising entirely, but it does mean you’ll need to make some adjustments in order to prevent any heat-related complications. If you’d like more information on how to best stay cool or if you’ve experienced an injury from exercising in the heat, Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation is here to help. Call 732-494-0895 to schedule an appointment at any of our four locations in Woodbridge, Union, Somerville or Edison, NJ.