summer sunflower

Stay Safe: Sun & Heat Tips for Summer

Summer is the season that beckons us all to come outside. Long, warm days full of bright sunshine are perfect for biking, walks on the beach, swimming, kayaking, or simply reading a book under a shady tree.

In addition to getting outdoors, recreational activities and exercise in the summertime provide a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Fresh air, movement, and adequate Vitamin D are known to elevate mood and the immune system.1

Summer is also the season of warmth and heat. As body temperature goes up, blood vessels and perspiration levels adjust to manage rising heat. Under normal circumstances, the process occurs without much effort. However, summertime heat and humidity increase core body temperature, requiring greater effort on behalf of the body to keep internal body temperature stable.

With some preplanning, you can beat the heat and still enjoy a playful summer.

4 Steps to Beat the Heat While Recreating and Exercising This Summer:

  1. Get outside during the coolest parts of the day. Make a tee time for early in the morning, or take a long walk in the evening when the sun is low in the sky. When possible, move to the shady part of the golf course or street.
  2. Stay hydrated. The body loses water through perspiration. Drink water in relation to what is lost through sweating while exposed to heat and humidity. The more intense the exercise, the greater the loss of water. Consume about one to two cups every 15 minutes when exercising under direct sunlight.2
  3. Wear lightweight, breathable clothes. Choose cotton, linen, or sport-tech fabrics. These fabrics absorb moisture. Consider clothes that “drape” rather than cling to the body. Draping allows air to move through and helps wick moisture.3
  4. Decrease intensity. Exercising and recreating in the heat and humidity is taxing. On hot, humid days, take the intensity down. Plan on going slower longer, or opt for a short, intense workout.

In addition, take care to protect the skin because sunburn decreases the body’s ability to cool itself.

  1. Wear a hat or visor to protect your face and top of head. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
  2. Apply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if perspiration is high.4
  3. Wear clothes that cover the chest and shoulders, since these are large surface areas prone to sunburn.

Follow the tips above to safely enjoy your time outside! Preplanning and prevention will go a long way to ensure a fun, fit, healthy summer.

About the Writer

Kelley Rakow, Health and Lifestyle Coach

Sources:

    1. Benefits of Sunlight
    2. Water Requirements During Exercise in the Heat
    3. Best Clothing for Humidity
    4. Sun Protection

Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.