The dog days of summer are upon us, which means many of us are practicing “warm weather mode” every second of every day. We’re wearing our lightest linen clothing, taking regular trips to the pool or beach, standing in the entryway of air-conditioned stores, and in general trying to beat the heat any way we can.
The risks of overheating are real. Every year we learn of tragic fatalities caused by extreme heat. Sure, some demographics, including children and the elderly, are more vulnerable, however all people can experience heat stroke (symptoms include: discomfort, disorientation, nausea/vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat, etc.), if they are not prepared to mitigate the heat with proven cool down and hydration methods.
Here are a few of the best ways to stay cool(er) during the year’s hottest days:
Make it easy on yourself by keeping a water bottle nearby. Invest in a reusable, insulated bottle that keeps water cold. The recommended daily amount is 2/3 of your body weight (Example: If you weighed 150 lbs multiply that by 2/3 which means you should be drinking 100 ounces of water). Make it habit to drink throughout the day, and not the recommended amount all at once.
Eat water-rich food and avoid salt.
Foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, will help you stay hydrated while also providing necessary nutrients to maintain your health. Skip overly salty foods, which will dehydrate you. Remember that some of the ripest summer foods are best: watermelon, strawberries, peaches, cucumbers, celery, zucchini, and more.
Be sensible about when and where you exercise. Check the “heat index” or the “real feel temperature” on your local weather channel as it combines heat and humidity to tell you how hot it actually is. Running outdoors in 90-degree heat is dangerous, especially when the humidity makes it feel 10-degrees warmer. Go for a run in the cooler morning hours, and take advantage of indoor training at the gym.
Wear appropriate clothing.
Dress in weather-appropriate clothing even when business casual isn’t all that casual. Light colors and natural cotton will help to turn down your natural thermostat. When exercising wear light colors and loose fabric that is water/sweat wicking to help you maintain a cooler body temperature.
Total body cool down with pulse points.
Pulse points on your body is where your blood vessels are closest to the surface. Since those blood vessels are close to the surface, you can cool down your entire body by getting the area in contact with a cool, damp ice pack or towel. There are various pulse points on your body and those include: insides of the wrists, back of the neck, insides of elbows, behind the knees, temples, and tops of the feet. Try taking a towel and rising it with cool water, ring it out and place is at any of those pulse points to cool your body temperature down.
Protect your living and working spaces.
You can take certain measures that will make your home and office environments more comfortable to be in. Close the shades or blinds to reduce the sun; invest in black-out shades if you can. Moderate the temperature of your air conditioner and position it to aim it at your feet and legs.
Staying cool during the summer is important for many reasons, and your health is key among them. You can avoid the serious risks of overheating with only small changes to your daily routine. What’s better is you can even improve the unsavory conditions with fun cool-down and hydration methods, like making fruity ice cubs and drinking iced herbal teas. Stay ahead of the warm weather and you’ll be sure to enjoy the summer months ever more!