Summer is certainly sizzling! Here are 5 ways to beat the heat
Is it hot enough for ya? Remember back in January when you said you’d do just about anything for a warm, hot day? Well, you got more than you bargained for this summer. With the barometer soaring well past 100 and humidity sticking to your body like an unwanted leach, going outside may seem less than ideal. Here are 5 ways to beat the heat while staying fit and making the most out of what’s left of the summer. While you’re busy sweating it out, remember: in just a couple of months you’ll be dreaming of the days you spent complaining about the heat.
1. Stay Hydrated!
It isn’t rocket science, and we’re sure you’ve heard this mantra restated often; but it’s worth repeating—drink lots! When we overheat, our body’s over 2.6 million sweat glands jump into action, causing us to sweat in order to cool us down. When the sweat evaporates off our skin, though, we also lose water and electrolytes (like sodium and potassium). Without enough of these, we can become dehydrated and start showing symptoms of heat-related illnesses. According to the CDC, you should start drinking water well before you’re thirsty. They also recommend drinking one cup of water for every 15 to 20 minutes that you spend doing a moderate activity outside.
2. Schedule Your Exercise
There’s nothing worse than trying to be active when the sun is scorching its way through your skin. In addition to risking a bout of heat exhaustion, working out when it’s too hot can also decrease your performance. Try these helpful tips to stay cool while maintaining your exercise routine:
- Avoid exercising between 10 am and 3 pm.
- Wear sunblock and loose, breathable, light-colored clothes.
- Choose a forested path.
- Drink water before AND after your workout.
- Have a cool shower before heading outside. Leave your hair wet—the water dripping down your neck will help refresh you.
- Stretch your muscles when they’re warm.
3. Spice up Your Diet
Ever noticed that people from hot climates love to add heat to their diets? Indian curries, Ethiopian stews, and creole jambalaya—these are just a few examples of spicy foods eaten in warm climates across the globe. It turns out these people are onto something. Eating spicy foods like chili peppers can help decrease your body’s internal temperature. The spicier the food, the more we sweat, which causes our blood circulation to increase and our bodies to cool. This phenomenon is called “gustatory sweating.” It’s not as appealing as, say, jumping into a refreshing pool, but spicing up your diet when the temperature soars is an effective way to keep you feeling chill. Time for some jerk chicken!
4. Eat Watermelon
Watermelon is to summer as hot chocolate is to winter. They’re both delicious and help us stay cool (or warm) when the weather turns. Watermelon is a particularly awesome food superstar. Packed with essential nutrients like Vitamins C and A, it’s also chock-full of water. In fact, a whopping 92 percent of watermelon is made up of H2O. And we all know that water is essential to preventing dehydration. Watermelon is also a good source of lycopene, a nutrient linked to the prevention of diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer.
5. Explore the Great Indoors
While we all enjoy getting fresh air during the summer months, excessive temperatures can turn the outdoors into a veritable oven, roasting us from the outside in. There’s little more refreshing than taking a dip in a cool pool, lake, or ocean. When these aren’t available, it’s time to turn your explorations indoors. Air-conditioned bowling alleys, climbing gyms, and skating rinks are great options to help keep you cool and moving at the same time. Not feeling uber energetic? Spend time in a movie theater, enroll in a pottery class, or attend a reading at the local bookstore instead.