Hot weather puts our health and well-being at risk.
Staying cool in August can be a struggle because of the excruciating heat waves. We all love a nice glistening, but being soaked in sweat is only ideal if you’re enjoying hot yoga or an infrared sauna session. Hot weather puts our health and well-being at risk, and knowing how to keep cool is essential! As women in midlife, feeling intense waves of heat is a part of life, but there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from the heat. Below are some tips for keeping it “chill” this summer.
Eat light meals to feel cooler. You are far better off sticking to light, well-balanced, regular meals when it’s hot. Food with a high water content, like strawberries, cucumber, celery, and lettuce, will also help to keep you hydrated and cool in summer weather. You can also try foods with high fluid content, like soups and stews, that contribute to hydration levels. Soups and stews can be a bit offputting in this heat, but a nice gazpacho is like nectar from the gods! The “Best Gazpacho” recipe By Julia Moskin is more of a drink than a soup, served in frosted glasses or chilled tumblers, and is perfect for this intense climate!
Heat escapes through the skin, which is the largest organ in the body. So, the more skin you can cool down, the better. There are various methods for how to cool your skin down in baking hot weather. I love Kinfield’s Sunday Spray Cooling Aloe Mist with moisturizing ingredients like natural spearmint, aloe, and cucumber that instantly soothe sunburned and overheated skin. Also, taking a cold shower or dip in a pool works well. Wrists and ankles have many pulse points where blood vessels are close to the skin, so your body temperature will drop more by putting your hands and feet in cold water.
It’s best to avoid going out during the hottest hours of the day, but sometimes we can’t avoid it. When out in direct sunlight, wear (and regularly reapply) sunscreen, and cover your head with a hat. Remember to take regular breaks indoors or in a shady area to avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing like a minimalist Pour Les Femmes “Audrey” kaftan will also help you to stay cool.
In hot weather, avoiding caffeine and drinking lots of water is important. Drink isotonic sports drinks to replenish the lost salts, sugars, and fluids. Cold beverages stabilize your core temperature, so ice water is your best bet. In the heat, you should avoid drinks containing caffeine, including tea and coffee. Mixing too much sun with a few too many adult beverages is not a good combination either. Pay attention to your physical prompts. You are dehydrated if you experience dry mouth, dizziness or confusion, and headaches.
Limit physical activity to cooler parts of the day. It’s important not to disrupt your routine too much because of hot weather, but sometimes you may have to. An early morning walk (my fave) may feel punishing when you’re nice and sleepy in bed, but it could be dangerous to exercise in the blazing midday sun and risk dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke. Consider the temperature when planning your day, and limit physical activity to when it’s cooler. If you do decide to work out, drink lots of water and take more breaks than usual to ensure you’re not putting any extra stress on your body.
RESOURCES + TOOLS
- Learn about heat-related illnesses and symptoms https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/heatrelillness.html
- Watch this video about hydration