Did you know, that according to the CDC, extreme heat causes over 600 deaths each year in the United States? As temperatures rise, it's crucial to prioritize your health and safety. That's why we've compiled 15 tips to keep you safe and sound this summer amidst recording breaking highs.
Whether it's choosing what to eat, deciding when to exercise, or knowing when to take a break, we've got you covered. You'll learn the importance of hydration, the benefits of lighter meals, and the best times to be physically active.
So, don't let the summer heat beat you down. Take a few minutes to read these tips and ensure you're ready to enjoy your summer safely.
Always Carry A Water Bottle And Drink Regularly
Don't underestimate the power of a water bottle; it's not just about quenching your thirst, it's your shield against the summer's heat and dehydration. When the temperature soars, your body loses water rapidly, and if you don't replace it, you're headed for trouble.
Choosing the right water bottle is crucial. Opt for insulated bottles that keep your water cool for longer. Water bottle selection isn't a trivial matter; it's an investment in your health. If you're not a fan of plain water, spice it up with a slice of lemon or cucumber.
Hydration Apps can also be your best friends in summer. They not only remind you to drink water but also monitor your total fluid intake. These apps can be easily customized according to your needs, making it easier for you to stay hydrated.
Newer apps also take advantage of AI technology that changes requirements based on temperature and prevailing conditions.
Remember, remaining hydrated isn't just about drinking water when you're thirsty. It's about taking proactive steps to ensure you're drinking enough throughout the day. So, pack your water bottle, set your hydration app, and bask in the beauty of summer while staying safe and hydrated regardless of where you are; at work, on your walks, at the beach, and even while running errands.
Choose Lighter Meals
Switching to lighter meals packed with lean proteins, fruits, veggies, and whole grains isn't just a diet fad, it's a game-changer for your health and energy levels. Summer heat can easily drain you, leaving you feeling lethargic and sluggish.
By choosing lighter and nutrient-dense meals, you're providing your body with the vital nutrients it needs to stay energized and healthy throughout the day.
Introduce a variety of protein sources into your diet. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, and tofu are excellent choices. They not only keep you feeling full but also supply the amino acids that help maintain your muscle mass.
Plant-based foods are even more nutritious. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are packed with fiber, keeping your digestive system running smoothly and balancing blood glucose levels. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals that boost your immune system, perfect for warding off those summer colds.
This summer, make a conscious effort to fill your plate with a rainbow of fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and hearty whole grains. You'll not only feel better but also have the energy to enjoy all that summer has to offer.
And one last thing- be sure to keep portion sizes in mind. Overeating, even healthy foods, can lead to weight gain and other health issues
Limit The Consumption Of Alcohol And Caffeine
While it’s a good practice to indulge in the season's fresh fruits and vegetables, it's also essential to keep an eye on your alcohol and caffeine intake as these can sneakily dehydrate your body.
Summer activities often involve socializing over drinks, which can easily lead to overconsumption of these recreational favorites. Both these drinks act as diuretics, speeding up the loss of water from your body and increasing the risk of dehydration. So, it's crucial to limit these and be mindful of your hydration levels.
Consider exploring alcohol alternatives such as hydrating mocktails. These can be as simple as sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or as fancy as a non-alcoholic mojito. You'll enjoy the social aspect of drinking without the dehydration risk.
Similarly, it's worth looking into de-caf or low-caffeinated options. Swap your morning coffee for a green smoothie or herbal tea. These can still give you an energy boost but won't dry you out like a raisin.
Remember, staying hydrated is about more than just drinking water. It's about ensuring you don't consume things that take away from your optimal hydration state. So, in this summer heat, make smart drink choices. Choose hydration over dehydration. Your body will thank you.
Watch The Sodium
As you transition into the summer months and the temperatures start to rise, it's important to pay special attention to your sodium intake. Sodium, while an essential nutrient for bodily functions such as nerve and muscle function, and fluid balance, can contribute to dehydration when consumed in excess, especially during hot weather.
Let's start with how sodium affects your body's hydration. Sodium does help regulate your body's fluid balance. However, consuming too much sodium can upset this delicate balance. The excess sodium in your bloodstream pulls water out of your cells, causing you to feel thirsty. The body does this to try and dilute the sodium.
This can lead to more frequent urination, which will further dehydrate you, especially in the hot summer months when you're already losing additional fluids through sweat. This chain of events can leave you feeling parched and fatigued, making the heat feel even more unbearable.
Therefore, managing your sodium intake is vital during the summer months. High-sodium foods such as processed meats, canned soups, and fast food can significantly contribute to your total sodium intake.
Instead of these, try consuming fresh, whole foods that are naturally low in sodium. You can add flavor to your meals with herbs, spices, and citrus instead of reaching for the salt shaker.
Additionally, try to stay mindful of hidden sources of sodium. Many packaged and convenience foods, sauces, dressings, and even some beverages can have high sodium content. Always read food labels to know exactly what you're consuming.
Don’t Forget About Other Electrolytes
When summer rolls around, with its long, sweltering days, staying hydrated becomes more important than ever. However, maintaining proper hydration isn't just about drinking plenty of water. It's also crucial to replenish your body's electrolytes, which play a pivotal role in maintaining fluid balance and overall health.
Electrolytes are minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, that carry an electric charge. They help regulate a host of vital bodily functions, including nerve and muscle function, pH levels, and, importantly for the summer months, fluid balance and hydration. When you sweat, you're not just losing water; you're also losing electrolytes, particularly sodium and potassium.
While drinking water is certainly essential in preventing dehydration, water alone may not be enough, especially during intense physical activity in the heat, or in cases of extreme heat exposure. This is because water can replenish the fluids lost, but it doesn't replace the vital electrolytes.
Without adequate electrolytes, you may experience an electrolyte imbalance. This can lead to symptoms like muscle cramping, fatigue, nausea, and even more severe issues like heat stroke. In contrast, when both water and electrolytes are replenished, your body is better able to regulate its temperature, stay hydrated, and function properly even in the summer heat.
This is why sports drinks, coconut water, and even homemade oral rehydration solutions are often recommended during excessive sweating or in the event of heat-related illnesses. These drinks contain both water and electrolytes, helping to replenish what your body loses through sweat.
Fortify; our powerful whole-food multivitamin ensures that your micronutrient bases are covered to offer you peace of mind and safety when the temperature spikes.
Many foods are excellent sources of electrolytes too. For instance, fruits and vegetables like bananas, avocados, and leafy greens are rich in potassium, while dairy products and tofu provide a good amount of calcium.
So, while enjoying the summer weather, remember to hydrate strategically. It's not just about the amount of water you drink, but also ensuring you're replenishing those essential electrolytes your body needs to stay healthy and hydrated.
Choose Fruit Smoothies And Frozen Yogurt Over Ice Cream
When it comes to satisfying your sweet tooth, why not swap out traditional ice cream for healthier alternatives like fruit smoothies, frozen yogurt, or fruit popsicles? These options not only offer a refreshing respite from the summer heat but also pack a nutritional punch, unlike their calorie-dense counterpart.
Consider the ingredients typically used in a smoothie. A smoothie made from fresh fruits, yogurt, or almond milk can provide a wealth of vitamins, fiber, and protein. You can even add superfoods like chia seeds or spinach for an extra health boost. The beauty of a smoothie is in its versatility; you can create a myriad of flavor combinations while knowing exactly what's going into your body.
As for frozen yogurt versus ice cream, the former often contains fewer calories and less fat. Plus, it carries the added benefit of probiotics, aiding digestion.
Optimal popsicle choices are those made from 100% fruit juice or pureed fruits, full of essential vitamins, and free from artificial preservatives.
Use Common Sense When Working Out
The summer months can make exercising a bit more challenging, as soaring temperatures increase potential risks such as dehydration and heatstroke. Choosing the right time for your workouts can make a significant difference.
The best time to exercise in the summer is either early in the morning or later in the day. During these times, temperatures are typically at their lowest and the sun is not at its peak, reducing the risk of overheating.
Early morning, particularly just around sunrise, is often considered the optimal time because it's usually cooler and the air quality tends to be better. However, if you're not an early riser, exercising in the evening, around or after sunset, is a suitable alternative.
While choosing the right time is important, its not the only consideration to make. There are other precautions you should take while working out in the summer. Here are some safety tips:
- Dress Appropriately: Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing to help keep your body cool. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics and don't forget a hat or visor and sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Use Sunscreen: If you're exercising outdoors (although it isn't advised), apply a sweat-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to all exposed areas of skin, even on cloudy days.
- Listen to Your Body: If you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseous, stop exercising immediately and move to a cooler place. These could be signs of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
- Gradually Acclimate to the Heat: If you're used to working out in cooler conditions, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you acclimate to the heat.
- Buddy Up: If possible, exercise with a friend. It's safer, and you can keep an eye on each other for signs of heat exhaustion.
Take A Cold Shower
When the scorching summer heat becomes too much to handle, one simple and effective strategy to cool down is taking a cold shower. Not only does this offer instant relief from the heat, but it also comes with several other potential benefits.
The most immediate advantage of a cold shower in hot weather is the reduction in body temperature. On hot days, your body works hard to cool itself down, leading to increased sweating. This can lead to dehydration if not managed properly. A cold shower lowers your body temperature, reducing the need for excessive sweating and therefore the risk of dehydration.
In addition, the cold water stimulates your blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to increased circulation as your body works to maintain its internal temperature. This improved circulation can help flush out metabolic waste, leading to a refreshed and revitalized feeling.
Beyond the physical benefits, cold showers can also offer mental relief from the heat. A break from the relentless heat can significantly improve your mood and reduce stress levels. In fact, exposure to cold has been shown to activate the nervous system and increase levels of endorphins, the 'feel-good' hormones. Therefore, a cold shower can act as a mental refresh, improving your focus and making you feel more alert.
While cold showers can be a great strategy for cooling down in the summer, it's important to approach them correctly. If you're not used to cold showers, you might find them quite shocking at first. It can be helpful to start with lukewarm water and gradually decrease the temperature. This allows your body to adapt to the colder temperature rather than being shocked by a sudden change.
Also, remember that while cold showers can offer temporary relief from the heat, they are not a replacement for proper hydration and protection against the sun. So, keep drinking plenty of water, wear sunscreen when outside, and find shade during the hottest parts of the day.
Include Healthy Fats In Your Diet
Don't shy away from healthy fats this season. Instead, incorporate avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil into your meals for a tasty, nutritious boost.
It's easy to overlook the importance of healthy fats in our diet, especially during the summer when we're often more focused on maintaining our beach bodies. But the reality is, our bodies need these fats to function optimally.
Take avocados for example. They're packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and are rich in fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Avocado benefits also extend to supporting skin health, which is especially crucial during the harsh summer months.
Nuts and seeds, on the other hand, are a powerhouse of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They're also loaded with antioxidants that help your body combat oxidative stress and inflammation.
Olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, is rich in monounsaturated fats and contains powerful biologically active antioxidants. It is strongly believed to be one of those things that can truly make you live longer.
Pay Attention To Your Body's Needs To Rest When Necessary
Listen to your body's whispers and take a breather when you feel the need. Quench your thirst adequately to remain your energetic self.
The importance of rest cannot be overstated, especially during summer. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of outdoor activities and neglect the need for downtime. But remember, your body requires time to recover from the heat and exertion.
Be aware of the signs of dehydration, such as dry mouth, headaches, or fatigue. Your body loses fluids through sweat when it's hot, so it's crucial to replenish them by drinking plenty of water.
Don't ignore the early signs of heat stroke. If you notice symptoms like dizziness, rapid heartbeat, or confusion, immediately seek shade, rest, and hydrate. Your health and safety should always be your top priority.
Always remember to listen to your body. The fatigue threshold will be met more easily when heat stress is added to the mix.
In the seemingly endless summer, taking care of yourself should remain your main priority.
Hydrate often, seek shelter and enjoy some time in the sun with your sunscreen applied.
You've got this summer safely in the bag.