Summer: it’s the best time of the year to get outside and be active. Kids are out of school, cold and flu season is a distant memory, and thanks to the long days, the sunshine is practically endless. Good weather means many people want to spend their leisure time al fresco, playing sports and spending time with friends and family. If you love the summer, but want to be smart about the heat, we’ve gathered our top tips to help!
- It’s Not the Heat; It’s the Humidity: We’ve all heard the old cliche, but in this case, it’s true. When deciding whether to be active out of doors, or the level of intensity of your activity, don’t just look at the thermometer. Be sure to look at the heat index as well, which incorporates humidity. Any heat index over 80 degrees can spell heat cramps if you spend prolonged time exposed.
- Shade is Your Friend: Even if you’re just outside to observe, you should still stick to the shade for two good reasons. Any sun exposure without sunblock can be hazardous, and it is still possible to overheat just by sitting in an exposed location.
- Drink, Drink, Drink–Water: Sweating is your body’s primary method of cooling itself. By making sure you’re well hydrated, you’re also making sure your inherent cooling system can operate at its best capacity, keeping you healthy and safe. Try to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as neither can replace water as the most effective form of hydration.
- Dress to Chill: What you wear can have a significant impact on how overheated you become. Loose fitting apparel allows air to circulate and helps cool you, while lighter colors reflect heat instead of absorbing it.
- Treat Yourself: We don’t mean with a trip to the Bahamas; instead, cool down with a frozen popsicle or chilled smoothie. So long as you aren’t taking in too many excess calories (say, with a seven-scoop banana split with all the fixin’s) this is a healthy way to indulge and handle the heat once in awhile.
It might be tempting to just do cartwheels outside the first sunny day and not come back inside until autumn. However, doing so would risk not only heat exhaustion and sports injury, but also probably be a little problematic with regard to performing activities of daily living. Instead, follow our tips and use good common sense, and you can enjoy the season safely. If you suffer from an orthopedic condition that worsens in the heat, request an appointment with a specialist at AOSMI to take action before your symptoms begin or worsen.