Sunday, July 24, 2011

Staying Cool in the Heat

Depending on where you are right now, you may be going through the extreme weather conditions that hit a lot of cities in the past week. It was (and still is) very very very hot and humid. Humidity went to about 100% in some places, and the lack of rain didn’t help much. Maybe it is always hot where you are, but I’m pretty certain it got hotter last week.

With extreme heat comes all sorts of dangers to our bodies. You could argue that it is “Aje Butter-ness” causing people to faint and get burned, but there really are health risks associated with the heat and humidity. The body temperature and your heart rate generally increase to inordinate amounts leaving your body pretty vulnerable. This is one of the reasons we always feel like all the energy is drained right out of us when we step outside in the heat. And if you’re exercising outside, well, you may be at even more risk because you have two things raising your body temperature.

If you let your body temperature get too high, and let yourself get too dehydrated, you could go as far as suffering a heat stroke. According to the Mayo clinic website, one of the symptoms of a heat stroke is when your body temperature feels extra high, yet your body is no longer producing sweat to cool itself down.

So how can you stay cool, and still stay fit?

Exercise Indoors: If you can, buy a gym membership. I know it sucks to have to spend money when you want to be outside, but for your health, it may be a great investment. You don’t want to restrict yourself to a gym? Then maybe participate in some indoor sports like squash and racquetball. Or go swimming. Or attend a spin class. Or buy some Jillian Michaels DVDs. There are so many ways you can work out indoors.

Find a hot meteorologist: To make you pay attention to the weather report! What else did you think I was talking about? If the forecast says it will be hot hot hot, maybe plan to be outside less and make alternate plans for that run time.

Drink water like your life depends on it: No kidding. Drink as much water as you can find. And for all the caffeine addicts, maybe drink less caffeine as it does help to dehydrate you. If you don’t like water, find some drinks with electrolytes (and low calories).

Barbecues might be a no-no: Instead of planning those summer barbecues, if it gets too hot, plan a movie night or go hang out at a bar with air conditioning. Hot weather plus a hot grill can be dangerous.

See the sun rise: If you absolutely must work out outside, try to do it really early in the morning, when the humidity is still relatively low and the sun is not out yet. However, still take precautions because just because the humidity and the temperature are lower than the rest of the day, does not mean it isn’t still hot.

Pretend it’s Labor Day: Make sure you are not stuffing yourself with clothing that could make you feel warmer. It is summer after all so wear light and light-colored clothing. I don’t know about you, but black most certainly does not work for me in this weather.

Wear sunscreen: If you plan on spending a lot of time outside, wear sunscreen. I know most of us come from cultures where darker skinned individuals think they don’t burn, but having seen black people with sunburned skin, I can testify that we do burn. Wear some sunscreen, even if it’s just on your face. For the ladies, a lot of foundations and moisturizers come with sunscreen nowadays so it shouldn’t be the most difficult thing in the world. Increased sun exposure could damage your skin.

Take frequent cold showers: Unless you’re Ke$ha or you think sweatiness is sexy, please take consistent showers in the heat. And when I say showers, I mean cold showers. Cold showers help to regulate your body temperature, even if it’s for a short while.

Pay attention to your body: If you feel faint, dizzy, nauseous, or your heart rate seems to be going much faster than normal, go indoors and get hydrated. If it persists, please see a doctor! Your health is very very important so please take it seriously.

Do you have any other techniques that help you beat the heat?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit:


  1. *sigh*

    Okay, I'll try the hot meteorologist part. Yes, that's the only thing I learned from this post. LOL.


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