How to Beat the Heat!

Summertime is here in Austin. School is out, traffic is slightly better, and breakfast tacos are in abundance! It is amazing how empty the city feels when all the students take off for summer break. We had a great winter and spring that stalled the hot weather for a few months, but if this past weekend is any indication of what to expect for summer then we will be in store for a pretty hot one. The good thing is you don’t have to hate the heat and you can stay safe doing it.. 100+ Degree days are back so your going to have to switch things up and get creative if you want to stay cool.

1. Drink plenty of water

Want to become smarter? Drink more water! Your brain is 77-78% water so there is no wonder as to why your head pounds after a night of drinking.  If you have ever had a fish tank you know you need to change the water out every week or else it gets pretty gross pretty quick.  How is the body any different? Your body uses and replaces water on a regular basis for recovery so giving it some good quality h20 will improve your performance and make you feel great!

Remember the Equation to find out how much water to consume daily base on your weight?

Your body weight ÷ Two = Your water goal in ounces

150 Pounds ÷ 2 = 75 liquid ounces
10 Big Glasses of water

Try to drink before you become thirsty to stay ahead of your hydration!

2. Schedule your workouts for early morning or afternoon

The hottest time of the day can vary due to a few factors but it usually falls between 2:00pm – 5:00pm.  This sometimes gets confused by the time at which the sun is at its highest point which is 12:00pm. Scheduling your workouts for early morning or late at night can increase the quality of your workout and protects you from the heat!

Sun picture

You could visit a different trail in Austin and the surrounding area every day of the week and it would still take you over a month to visit them all! Trail sports can provide great tree coverage from the sun at one of the many trail systems around Austin like The Green BeltHill of Life, McKinney Falls State ParkBrushy Creek Lake Park, and Walnut Creek park.

Trail sports have shown to improve mental health and help with depression and anxiety by helping quiet overstimulated pathways in the brain. 

“One group of study participants completed a brisk 90-minute walk in a natural setting; the other group took their walk, of the same duration and intensity, in an urban setting. Upon returning to the lab, the nature-walkers not only self-reported decreased rumination, but fMRI scans of their brains also showed decreased neural activity in an area of the brain associated with mental illness (the subgenual prefrontal cortex). The walk literally changed their brain. The urban-walkers, however, experienced neither of these effects.”

 3. Take a dip in the springs!

barton springs

Barton Springs is the fourth largest spring in Texas and provides a quite cool temperature range between 68 °F (20 °C) in the winter to about 71.6 °F (22.0 °C) in the summer. Starting your workout at Zilker Park and looping back around town lake or through the Greenbelt can provide an excellent opportunity to finish your run with a leg soak or dip in the springs! No prep work needed, just take off the shoes and watch out for dogs!

4. Cold towels can be just as great as hot ones

color-2094431_1920Before a long run or hard workout grab an old cooler, some water, and some ice cubes.  Combine them together before your workout to have refreshing cold towels after your run or workout to help cool you off!

+Bonus Tip: Freeze a second water bottle to take with you so it can slowly melt and you will have nice cold water after your workout.

 5. Be Aware of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke!

Knowing the signs of heat exhaustion is critical to keep you safe and healthy during this hot summer season. This is a life threatening condition and it can take only minutes to progress by putting stress on your brain, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. If left ignored then it can quickly turn into a heat stroke. Both the symptoms for a heat stroke and heat exhaustion are very similar so if you do start experiencing any of these symptoms then you need to seek shade, quickly lower your body temperature, and get some fluids in ASAP.

Heat Exhaustion Heat Stroke
  • Faintness or dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Heavy sweating often accompanied by cold, clammy skin
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Pale or flushed face
  • Dizziness and Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Throbbing headache
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot, and dry skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Remember that your recovery needs to be equal or greater to your workload or else things start wearing down. This becomes even more true during these hot months because the heat causes you to lose more water and minerals, such as magnesium, through sweat and evaporation.  Following some of these tips can increase your chance for staying cool, safe,  and injury free this summer.

-Nick Picchetti L.M.T.

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