All year long you’ve been waiting to take a vacation, intern at your dream company, get a head start on your classes or take a trip to the beach. But with temperatures reaching as high as 94 degrees in Miami, according to the National Weather Service, don’t forget to factor in the heat.
To make sure your summer is a breeze, Sara Holtzman, assistant director of fitness programs at the Wellness and Recreation Center, and Mariela Gabaroni, associate director of Health Promotion Services, shared a few tips to beat the heat.
Don’t let the heat slow you down.
- Start your workout early or go swimming. Beat the sun before it comes up. Holtzman recommends taking an outdoor run around campus or hitting the Wellness and Recreation Center in the morning to limit your sun exposure. She says doing a few laps in the pool is also a great way to stay active and refreshed.
- Workout in the shade. The outdoors don’t have to be uncharted territory during the summer, leaving you trapped in your room or office. Running or walking the stairs in the parking garages may be the secret to staying out of the sun and off the treadmill. Holtzman mentions that the GC lawns offer shade for yoga or body weight routines. Breaking a sweat at a Zumba or Ultimate Abs class in the A/C could also be your summer go-to workout to avoid the heat.
- Become heat tolerant. “Like anything else, our bodies can adapt to heat exposure,” said Holtzman. “Try working your way up over the course of a month or so to become more heat tolerant by starting with a 10 to 20-minute outdoor workout.”
- Give your body more than water. “We sweat out salt and other minerals that need to be replaced after being outside for a prolonged period,” said Holtzman. “Instead of drinking Gatorade or Powerade, which are high in sugar, take electrolyte tablets [that are full of minerals such as calcium, sodium and potassium]. Tablets are easy to find, inexpensive, and won’t add a lot of sugar or calories to your water.”
- Balance your drinks. There’s no shame in going out for drinks on a hot day, but don’t forget to order a few glasses of water. “Alcohol is considered a diuretic beverage which causes your body to lose more fluids than normal and can cause dehydration,” said Gabaroni. “Limit the consumption of alcohol and alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated.”
- Take your water to go. Always have a water bottle with you, Gabaroni advised. FIU has several water fountains located throughout campus where you can refill your water bottle. If you can’t bare the tasteless flavor of water all summer, Gabaroni recommends spicing it up by adding fruit such as strawberries or pineapples to create your own flavor. Eating foods that are high in water such as watermelon and cucumbers will also help you stay refreshed.
Protect your skin.
- Rock the right fit. Ever heard that darker-colored clothing attracts heat? Well, it’s true. “Wearing looser and lighter-colored clothing will promote a circulation of air,” says Gabaroni. “And contrary to what you may think, it’s actually better to wear a pair of long, white, cotton fabric pants versus a pair of shorts to protect your skin from the sun.”
- Get the hat to match. The American Cancer Society suggest a hat with at least a 2 to 3-inch brim all around to protect areas that are often exposed to intense sun, such as the ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. While this may sound a little crazy, shared Gabaroni, when it’s really hot outside, pour some cold water in your hat and put it back on to stay cool.
- Apply sunscreen. Peak times of heat, spanning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., aren’t the only times you should be protecting your skin. Make it a habit of using sunscreen all day, every day because you live in Miami. Always check the expiration date and apply the sunscreen correctly. FIU’s Pharmacy has a variety of sunscreen brands and typically run specials during the summer. Sometimes the Healthy Living Program has free samples, so stop by.
So even when the heat is up, you can still get outdoors or make the most of your days.
“It’s important to be realistic,” said Holtzman. “Remember that we can’t push as hard, nor go as fast in the heat as we can during cooler temperatures. Set goals that work with your summer schedule, and most importantly, have fun – that’s what summer is all about!”