The heat of the summer is upon us. With many places in the U.S. reaching over 100 degrees and heat indexes well into the 110-120s, we don’t need any reminders that its hot outside. What we do need to remember is that when we are exposed to extreme heat or cold, it is important to take extra care of our bodies.
First and foremost, increasing your intake of water will help combat the dehydration of your cells. When the cells of your body become dehydrated, they are not able to function properly. Many people feel nauseous, have headaches, feel faint or dizzy, or are just fatigued or groggy. If any of these symptoms are common to you, up your water intake for a few days and see if it helps. Many times, something as easy as that can make a big difference.
Second, limit your intake of high-sugar and caffeinated drinks, such as Gatorade, Powerade, Soda, or RedBull, as well as alcohol. The extra sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can put stress on your body when its already in an unstable environment. Artificial sugars in particular have a number of negative symptoms associated with them that are not helpful in a hot environment. These include changes in body temperature, fatigue, seizures and convulsions, vomiting and nausea, and fainting. The caffeine can cause a change in heart rate as well, putting you at greater risk. Beer or liquor that is mixed with sugary drinks dehydrate you and can have amplified affects if you’ve already been in the heat for a while. Its best to stay away from them or drink water in conjunction to counteract their affects.
Third, don’t forget to eat! Many times when we are exposed to high heat, our appetites become suppressed and the thought of eating is just unbearable. However, going without food in high temperatures can cause a major crash in your blood sugar which can lead to again, nausea, fatigue, seizures, etc. Make sure you are eating a well balanced diet even in the extreme heat. Oftentimes, making good nutritious choices is hard when there are limited choices but try your best at finding healthy snacks.
Fourth, get checked at your chiropractor. Yes, this may seem a little unconventional but you would be surprised to know that extreme temperatures are a major stress to your body’s homeostasis. Any type of stress can be linked to misalignments in your spine that put pressure on the nerves causing the nervous system to not function correctly. Therefore, if you are feeling like the heat is really getting to you, it could be because your nervous system is unable to handle the load. By getting your spine checked you are putting your body in a better state with a greater ability to handle the high temperatures.
Some suggestions for alternatives in drink and diet: If water doesn’t sound good, try adding fresh-squeezed lemon or lime to ice water or cut up a cucumber and add that for a refreshing drink. If you are out and limited to “bar drinks” but want to refrain from drinking alcohol, drink tonic/soda water with fresh squeezed lime instead. Healthy snacks that are convenient are frozen grapes, veggies and dip, almonds or any raw nuts, or cold grilled chicken on salad greens with a squeeze of lime juice instead of dressing.
Most importantly, remember that taking care of your body will take you a long way. By decreasing the things that stress the body during the heat of the summer, you are giving yourself a greater chance to stay healthy and happy!