4 Ways To Prepare Yourself for Hot Summer Activities
Nothing beats the summertime for outdoor activities. Whether you’re taking impromptu trips to the beach, camping and sleeping under the stars, or playing outdoor sports with friends, summertime is the best time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
But all that fun and excitement does carry a risk. This year, climate scientists have recorded record-breaking heat waves across the U.S., with temperatures reaching 112 F in some parts of the nation.
As a lover of sunshine and outdoor fun, you must prepare yourself for extreme heat and plan for activities that require you to be outside for lengthy periods. It’s all too easy to get sunstroke or become dehydrated when lounging on the beach or playing a pick-up soccer game with friends at the park.
Here are four things you can do to prepare and make sure you stay safe while having fun in the summer sun:
Activities to Beat the Heat
Even if the sun is blazing, you may still be able to get outside and enjoy some of your favorite activities this summer. You can even discover some new activities that can help you stay fit as you ditch scorching playing fields for the beach or other naturally cool spots in your area.
If the temperatures in town are climbing above your heat tolerance, consider heading out of town and into the mountains or foothills. Mountainous regions tend to stay cooler than areas that are at sea level.
You can benefit from this effect by taking yourself out of town and considering activities like:
- Hiking on shady trails or outside of the peak heat
- Mountain biking
- Packing art supplies for nature-inspired art projects
Sometimes it still gets too hot for normal activities, even in mountain regions. If this happens, consider modifying your normal activities to account for high temperatures.
Accounting for High Temperatures
When the summer temperatures rise, you should make changes to the way you enjoy the great outdoors. Even if the idea of a mid-morning run sounds fun, high temperatures may make it impossible to get out and exercise safely.
Adapt your activities to better account for high heat during the summer. For example, if you play in a soccer league, you can take a leaf out of the Premier League’s book and introduce additional water breaks every 20 minutes. This will help you and other players account for the effect of heat waves on the body and stay energized during outdoor activities.
If possible, try to stick to shaded areas when enjoying your favorite activities. Making small behavioral changes — like stopping in shade instead of the sun while hiking — can make a big difference to your overall well-being and enjoyment. And if you’re going to be in the sun for a lengthy period, consider packing some extra sun protection with you.
The summer sun presents a serious hazard to your health. Even one bad sunburn can lead to skin conditions like cancer, on top of being uncomfortable and painful. Luckily, you can prevent sunburn by preparing yourself before you leave the house.
If you’re partaking in an activity like a picnic or a painting session, pack a parasol with you in case you can’t find a shady spot. Even a small summer umbrella can ensure that your skin doesn’t get burned while you enjoy warm summer temperatures. You can also wear long, light athletic clothing that keeps you cool while protecting most of your body.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for a product that has “broad spectrum” protection. This will protect you against both UVA and UBA rays. You’ll also need to find a sunscreen with the protection of SPF 30 or above, as this will cut out enough harmful UV rays to partially protect you both from sunburns and skin cancer.
Hydration and Diet
Staying hydrated while enjoying hot summer activities should be your top priority. Sunstroke and dehydration can set in quickly while you’re enjoying the outdoors and inadequate hydration can lead to further sickness and poor decision-making.
When enjoying the outdoors, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks. Sugar can dehydrate you, particularly if you are on medication or have diabetes. In addition, eating too much sugar can also lead to other health conditions. Health problems associated with high sugar diets include obesity, heart disease, cognitive decline, cancer, and kidney disease.
Skip the sugary foods and soda and opt for healthier alternatives. Even if you don’t like water, you can stay well hydrated by eating fruits and vegetables like strawberries and cucumbers. Flavored water and cold tea may be your best friend when the weather is too warm for coffee — you can add a pinch of salt if you’re engaging in physically demanding activities that work up a sweat.
Summer is one of the best times of year for outdoor activities. You can rely on good weather, and enjoy the health benefits of exercising in the sunlight. However, you may need to modify some activities to ensure that you stay well hydrated and avoid sunburns. Even small behavioral changes like eating more fruit and vegetables can help you avoid dehydration and keep your energy up for fun activities.