How to Beat the Heat

I personally prefer extreme cold to extreme heat, because you can always add layers and go out, but with heat, no matter how much you take off, you are still uncomfortable once you are outside.

I cruised the web and wanted to share some of the suggestions of others in the same situation.

Our friends overseas at the Daily Mail offered some very down to earth ones, including: “Eat small meals and eat more often. The larger the meal, the more metabolic heat your body creates breaking down the food. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increase metabolic heat.”

A similar concept came up in my blog item The Brain is an Oxygen Burner explaining why we often feel sluggish after eating a big meal because digestion requires a lot of oxygen that would be going to the brain, but is diverted to the gut.

Another good one is, “Run your wrists under a cold tap for five seconds each every couple of hours. Because a main vein passes through this area, it helps cool the blood.”

Once you are back home, the Mail suggested, “Take a tepid bath or shower just below body temperature, especially before bedtime. Although a cold shower might sound more tempting, your body generates heat afterwards to compensate for the heat loss.”

Finally, as a beer drinker, I was struck by this one, “You may be longing for a cold beer or a chilled white wine spritzer. But you should avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body. You are better off with mineral water or low-sugar fizzy drinks. Also, avoid drinks with caffeine such as coffee and colas. These increase the metabolic heat in the body.”

A more subtle suggestion from the Mail went as follows: “Sit back, close your eyes and picture snow. Research has shown that the body reacts to these daydreams, reducing its overall temperature.” Perhaps to combat the stressful discomfort of the heat, some relaxation would help. We wrote about the benefits of relaxation here.

Closer to home, the New York City Office of Emergency Management offered the following suggestions:

• Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar. This reminds me of the popular Mc D’s new frozen strawberry lemonade that John wrote about. He reported that the new drink contained a stunning 67 grams of sugar. That translates to 16 teaspoons of sugar at around 4 grams per teaspoonful.

• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.

• Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 AM to 4 PM. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 AM and 7 AM

• Cool showers or baths may be helpful, but avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a shower immediately after becoming overheated – extreme temperature changes may make you ill, nauseated, or dizzy.

For some further suggestions on dealing with extreme heat, check out How to Beat the Heat and Hydration – Cool, Clear Water. What are danger signs during hot weather exercise?, How dangerous is it to exercise outdoors in a heat wave?, What about bike riding during a heat advisory?, What to do about exercise in very hot weather?

Lastly, I would personally like to recommend some watermelon. That never fails to refresh me and it is wonderfully healthful, too. You can read about it at How Healthy is Watermelon? Aptly named, watermelon is 92 percent water so it is superb for hydration.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, extreme heat, outdoor exercise, Risky exercise, summer exercise

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