Health & Fitness – Beat The Heat

It is hot out! And it is going to stay this way for a few months. Here are some reminders of ways to “beat the heat.”

Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic) than usual, no matter what your activity level is. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If your physician limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him/her how much you should drink during this hot weather. Limit your alcoholic drinks or drinks with large amounts of sugar because they can actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Avoid very cold drinks because they may cause stomach cramps.

Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the public library or a coffee shop – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. During an especially hot period, call the health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

The best clothing to wear during the heat is lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. If you are outdoors and in the sun, never wear dark clothing and always wear a hat.

NEVER leave any person or pet in a closed, parked vehicle.

Any of us at any time can suffer from heat-related illness; some people are at greater risk than others and need to be checked on regularly:

  • Babies and young children
  • People aged 65 or older
  • People who have a mental illness
  • Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

Check on adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Infants and young children need much more frequent watching
If you must be out in the heat, cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose while sweating. But, if you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports drink. Rest often in shady areas. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Put on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels).

For more information regarding heat-related illnesses, talk to your health care provider.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.