With all the information out there recently regarding the importance of hydration and how to keep your body hydrated whether or not you’re engaged in athletic activity or not, it seems there are still way too many incidents of dehydration, heat sickness, heat stroke, and the like. Heat and humidity can cause some serious damage to your body if steps are not taken to prevent them from doing so. Here are a few do’s and don’ts.
Obviously, DO drink plenty of cool and cold water. Your body is made up of about 66%-75% water. On “normal” temperature days, if it’s recommended that you consume 8-12 glasses of water, then on abnormally hot days it would seem to increase that amount by at least doubling it if not more. Pouring the water on you is not a bad idea either. Just be sure it isn’t ice-cold and puts too much of a shock on your system.
DON’T drink caffeinated beverages, drinks loaded with sugar, or alcoholic beverages. Each of these drinks rob you of your hydrated state and make you thirstier than you originally were. If you must, do so in light moderation, and follow them up with plenty of water and/or fruit with a high water content like watermelon. You may ask, “Well, what if it’s iced coffee, adult beverage, etc.?” While it may provide you with a temporary cooling effect due to the ice, not long after drinking, your will be thirsty again and perhaps even less hydrated than prior to gulping down the sugary, alcohol laden, and/or caffeinated beverage.
DO wear all natural fabrics. The natural fibers will allow your skin to breathe and let out the moisture. Synthetic fibers do not allow the skin to breathe and retain the moisture making for a very hot, sticky, uncomfortable situation. DO seek and go into shaded areas and remove your hat and socks if wearing them. Allowing your head and feet to breathe is vital to quickly and efficiently cooling off your entire body.
DON’T wear tight-fitting, heavy, or dark clothing if at all possible on hot humid days. Dress as lightly (weight and color-wise) and as loosely and comfortably as possible. DON’T over-exert yourself on these types of days especially during the high sun hours of 12pm to 6pm during the summertime.
While much of this may seem “elementary”, and for all intents and purposes it just may be. Yet, considering there are still too many of incidents of dehydration, heat stroke, and heat sickness happening, this needed to be written for the safety of all athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone. Like vehicles, if we become overheated, serious, sometimes irreparable damage can be done. In some cases, even death has occurred. So please, take the proper steps to keep your body cool and well hydrated. Cool is the rule.