Humidity is a harsh mistress. And for those of us who like to stay active and moving even during the summer months, it is very important to take the right precautions and ensure we can STAY active and moving! So, what should we be doing to stay safe and healthy as summer hits?
Rule number one is to stay hydrated! This sounds obvious, but it’s actually harder than it sounds! As we sweat, it is not pure water we are losing, but many of our electrolytes that help our nerves and muscles fire. As well as help maintain water levels in our system! It is usually recommended that for people losing a great deal of sweat, that an electrolyte rich drink be alternated with pure water, or split half and half (like cutting a half glass of lemonade with water to fill the full glass). Drinks like lemonade, sports drinks, and juices are great options for this type of drink. Making sure you have plenty on hand can save you some headaches (sometimes literally) later!
Drinking only water can have other unintended side effects, as water intake is actually part of what signals our body to produce urine, which unfortunately can also flush electrolytes! You may find that you need to intake more fluid than expected solely because you are intaking fluid! Keep a close eye on common symptoms of dehydration. These include headache, dizziness, rapid heart rate or rapid respiration!
Humidity also makes it more difficult for sweat to evaporate, which is what really keeps use cool! Many who are trying to be more active in the summer months find that their sweat seems to hurt more than help as they start to feel smothered by it! Sweat towels are an obvious but often overlooked solution to this problem, and one that I highly recommend for people who are out in the humidity! Sweat wicking fabrics (as opposed to cottons that more absorb sweat) are a smart alternative for clothing in this weather as well!
Of course, when possible, try to avoid peak temperatures as well. But even morning and evening temperatures in Florida can get pretty astronomical. We commonly see racers who start in the morning start to suffer symptoms of heat stroke; showing lack of sweating, a perception of being cold despite the heat, dizziness, or unsteadiness. If anyone who has been out in the heat shows symptoms like this, be sure to get medical attention immediately!
This is not to say don’t be active this summer, just stay smart as you do so! This will help you stay healthy as summer hits.