With the temperature reaching the 90s this week, it's that time of year to remind you about some important lifestyle choices you can make to stay hydrated and cool in the summer heat.
1. Drink your water!
This one should be obvious but it's not always easy for people. Hydration is important year round, but it becomes even more crucial when you are spending more time outside and sweating. Staying hydrated is a 24 hour job, with the most important times being the hour before and the hour after you train. How much water you should be consuming will vary depending on gender, body mass, etc. so just aim to be consistent with your intake. Drinking every time you start to feel a little thirsty is a good habit. If you "never feel thirsty" maybe try drinking a glass or bottle of water every time you eat. If you "hardly eat" during the day, maybe try taking a sip of water every time you check your phone.
2. Other ways to get your water intake
Plain water should be your main source of hydration, but there are other things you can consume to help stay hydrated. These include fruits, coffees, teas, and sports drinks. Be careful with how much coffee and tea you have during the day because too much could actually send you in the opposite direction (dehydration). A Body Armor or Gatorade could be a beneficial supplement to help hydrate ONLY if you are already consuming enough water.
3. Water DURING your workout
Many people make the mistake of trying to consume a lot of water during their workout because they are coming into it at a deficit. At this point, it is too late. Unless your workout is longer than normal (20+ minutes) you should not need to hydrate much or at all during. Your time would be better spent pouring water on your head and/or back of the neck to help stay cool.
4. Cold baths/showers
I know, I know. These are very uncomfortable BUT they could be a game changer this time of year. If you are feeling overheated after a workout and just can't seem to cool down, try taking a 5 minute cold bath. There are numerous benefits to this habit (increased circulation, improved muscle soreness, alertness) along with simply helping you cool down and return your body temperature back to normal.
5. Listen to your body!
This change in weather will take some adjusting, but eventually your body will adapt if given the opportunity to do so. Hiding inside in the air conditioning is not very human-like and will not help you when you need to do something outside. Be aware of your habits and listen to your body. You may need to alter your intensity from day to day until you adjust to the heat and that is ok. Exercising in less than ideal conditions is yet another way we can vary our fitness and improve our overall health!