Health Advocate Blog

Beat the heat and protect your health

With temperatures continuing to rise, it is important to stay hydrated and find relief from the heat to avoid potential health issues. Whether you are spending a leisurely day at the beach or going for an outdoor run, keep these tips in mind to prevent dehydration and overheating.

Tips to stay hydrated

Keep water on hand: By keeping a water bottle in your bag or your car, you’ll be reminded to continue drinking throughout the day, plus you can fill it up when you’re out and about. Feeling thirsty is a signal that your body is already on the way to dehydration, so drink up!

Add hydrating fruits and veggies to your menu: Peaches, oranges, cucumber, carrots, watermelon, and grapes all taste great and help to re-hydrate!

Drink water throughout your workout: If you are doing low to moderate activity for less than an hour, water is sufficient. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that for every 15-20 minutes you exercise, drink 3 to 8 fluid ounces of water (if you’re not exceeding 60 minutes of exercise).

However, if you are exercising for over an hour, particularly in extreme heat, you should consider supplementing water with your choice of electrolyte replacement. The ACSM recommends that when exercising for an hour or more, for every 15-20 minutes you exercise, drink 3 to 8 fluid ounces of a sports beverage (containing 5 to 8 percent carbohydrates, along with electrolytes). Also, avoid drinking more than more than a quart during an hour of exercise.

Tips to stay cool

Dress for the weather: Lightweight, light-colored clothes help reflect sunlight away from your body and help keep heat levels down. Wear clothes that are made of cotton or a sweat-wicking material. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat, and ALWAYS wear sunscreen.

Schedule your day around the sun: The temperature tends to be cooler in the early morning and early evening. If you are going to spend time outside during peak heat, especially if exercising, opt for shady areas and try to avoid direct sunlight.

Listen to your body: If you start to feel lightheaded or faint, take a break from whatever you are doing, have some water, and find a cool area to rest in.

Know the signs of a heat-related illness: Visit the CDC’s Extreme Heat website to learn about the warning signs of heat-related illness. If you suspect that you or someone you are with is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately.

By planning ahead, it’s possible to enjoy the warm weather and stay safe, cool and refreshed on hot summer days

For Health Advocate members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, contact your Coach for more information on how to stay cool and hydrated during the summer months.