As someone who lives in the Texas Panhandle, you know how hot it can get during the summer — especially in Palo Duro Canyon. Temperatures during the hottest months average around 90 degrees, and at times the heat can seem relentless.
It can also cause serious health issues — such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke — if you're not careful. Staying hydrated is a big part of staying healthy out in the heat.
Follow these steps to prevent heat stroke and other illnesses when you're out hiking in the sun.
1. Drink Before You're Thirsty
It's important to drink fluids even when you're not thirsty. When you do feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it's approaching dehydration. Replenish your fluids frequently rather than drinking simply to quench your thirst.
2. Water Is Best
While advertisements for sports drinks and other beverages may claim that they're the best way to stay hydrated, in the majority of cases, you're better off sticking with water.
Sports drinks provide certain electrolytes that are helpful for high-intensity training, but they usually contain high amounts of sugars (and calories) that you otherwise don't need.
The amount of water you should drink may vary depending on your age, weight, gender and activity level. Drinking water regularly throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated.
3. Drink Cool Fluids
There's nothing quite like a cold drink on a hot day, but experts advise drinking cool water because the body absorbs it faster than it does cold water. Cool fluids will also encourage you to drink more during activity in hot weather.
4. Keep A Water Bottle
At Your SideA reusable water bottle is a great investment. You should always keep one nearby. You can easily replenish it during the day, and having a water bottle on hand allows you to drink fluids regularly whether you're doing strenuous activity or not.
5. Eat The Right Foods
Drinking water is the easiest and fastest way to hydrate, but eating foods that have a high water content can also ward off dehydration. Foods with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and celery.
Loose clothing that allows your sweat to evaporate and absorbs less heat will keep you from becoming overheated and dehydrated. If you're exercising outdoors, you should always wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
7. Avoid Alcohol
Few things sound better than a cold beer or other alcoholic beverage during a summer heat wave. But if hydration is your goal, alcohol isn't your friend. It acts as a diuretic and causes you to urinate more frequently — which leads to dehydration.
8. Watch The Clock
There's nothing wrong with exercising outside during the summer — as long as you do it during the appropriate time of day. Plan your workout for early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun isn't bearing down on you.
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