With summer already unofficially here and the solstice just over a week away (this year it arrives on June 21st), it seems like a good time to remind everyone of the dangers of overheating and to give some tips for avoiding the serious health risks associated with overdoing things in hot weather.
As we all know, our bodies have an ingenious system designed to keep us from getting too hot. When we start to really warm up, we start to perspire, and when this perspiration evaporates, our bodies cool down as a result. But when it’s too hot outside and we exert ourselves for too long in such high temperatures, our natural cooling system just can’t keep up, and our core body temperature can rise dangerously high. The result can be heat exhaustion or, even more serious, heat stroke. Luckily, this never has to happen to you! There are tried and true ways to still enjoy your workouts this time of year while minimizing the risk of ever getting dangerously hot. Just heed the following tips:
More H2O is the Way to Go!
Your body needs enough water to keep up with the amount you’re losing to perspiration, so when it’s hot out, drink even more than usual. While you’re exercising, drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 20 minutes. After you’ve finished, drink at least another 8 to 10 oz.
When the Sun’s Up High, You Lay Low!
Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest parts of the day. Instead, schedule your outdoor workouts for early in the morning or after the sun’s gone down. If neither time is an option, move your exercise indoors: Work out at the gym or use the air-conditioned mall for a brisk walk.
Dress Right, Keep it Light!
Since it’s not the perspiration but its evaporation that cools you down, wear loose-fitting clothing that will enable air to circulate over your skin. Also, wear light colors, since dark ones absorb the sun’s heat.
It’s Great to Acclimate!
Ease into your summertime outdoor activities. Your body will gradually become more efficient at keeping you cool while it’s hot—but it will take a little practice. Cut down on the length of time you do your workout or the speed at which you do it. In about 4 to 14 days, your body will acclimate. As it does, you can pick up the pace or lengthen the race, but pay attention to what your body is telling you, and don’t get ahead of yourself.
Everyone at California Chef wishes you a fun, safe summer!