Labor day is over, and the dog days of summer are quickly coming to an end. I know this because the shadows are getting longer, the days are ending a bit earlier each week, and the whining about the end of lazy summer days has begun. And I know THIS because I am one of the loudest of those whiners… summer’s end gets me every year.
But it’s important to remember that the heat and humidity are still very much with us. Summer carries well into September, and even October can have some severe humid days. This past week alone has been some of the hottest days I’ve experienced outside. The sun is waning but it’s still very important to continue to take those sun precautions, and protect yourself internally and externally from the strong sun as we are out and about exercising and enjoying our outdoor activities.
It’s so important to find a good sunscreen that is sweatproof/waterproof and doesn’t clog pores. I know it’s kind of gross to use sunscreen when your pouring sweat like a waterfall, but the dangers of going without are too great a risk. Experiment with different brands to find one that works with your body and allows your pores to breath. Reapply liberally, even when it’s cloudy, and especially if you sweat a little more than the average outdoor enthusiast (you know who you are.) And check that expiration date to make sure you are working with an updated product!
Also – do I need to say it – hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Such a simple rule of outdoor activity of any kind, and yet I hear stories constantly of friends and clients being ill-equipped for the day’s activities and how they suffered because of it. Yet such a simple thing to remedy! If you rarely feel thirst during your activity, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to drink. A basic rule is to drink 8 oz. of water every 15 minutes of your workout, with about twice that much 1-2 hours before you start. After the first hour of activity, you can add a sports drink to replenish those electrolytes, especially if you are that heavy sweater.
It’s also important to remember as we age that, even though we feel great physically – even better than some of the youngsters around us – we in fact are NOT invincible. We must remain ever-vigilant about what the warm-weather elements are doing to our routine and adjust accordingly. And a good, quick nap afterwards won’t hurt if you have the time to rest and replenish. Good as new! And there are advantages to being of a certain age when it comes to extreme temps. We’ve learned the hard way to keep the alcohol to a minimum the day before outdoor exercise, and to hold off on having it as a treat afterwards until we are thoroughly hydrated. Isn’t that right?
Of course, early morning/late evening are the best times to be exercising outside when the temps are up. Not to mention that your activity will be oh-so-much more enjoyable at those hours. Whether it’s to prep you for the big day ahead, or unwind after a particularly bad one, those hours are golden.
Know and look for the signs of heat exhaustion when out with your crew: Dizziness, confusion, lethargy, cramps, rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst can come on quickly and move just as quickly toward more dangerous territory. My mantra – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – is so important in the heat. Especially as we get older, it really can be much more sensible than our active minds, telling us all we need to know.
Yes, I realize so much of this is common sense, and it’s info we have heard a billion times before. But it can’t hurt to reiterate in the hopes that someone will read this and throw a forgotten tube of sunscreen or a visor in their car, or a few extra waters. In fact keep extras of everything you can in your car to ensure that you’re never without. And not just in the middle of summer. So even if you were never a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, heed their motto and be prepared!
Guest blogger Linda Jennings holds her Personal Trainer Certification with the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Reformer I training with Stamina Pilates. Her hobbies include running (participant in Broad Street Run and Philly Distance Half Marathon), hiking, traveling with her husband, and reading.