Beat the Heat: Staying Healthy with Hot Temps

Author: Justine Cosman, PT, DPT : Doctor of Physical Therapy, Business Owner, Associate Professor, and Blog Contributor. Explores common client questions and helps find solutions for every day functional health concerns, and then some. Loves empowering others, seeking adventure, and learning every day. Learn more about Justine on Google+.

In Portland, Oregon, as well as many other places around the country, we are experiencing more extreme temperatures. This week, alone, we are going to be 100+ for most of the week. This can lead to a pretty challenging environment if you are wanting to stay active. The obvious necessities for this weather include lots of water (your water intake should increase in warmer temperatures!!!) and sun protection (sun screen, hats, umbrellas... etc.). However, these are not the only things we have to think about with the heat.

Sleep Soundly

Sleep is often affected by the heat. If we are overly warm, often we may find ourselves tossing and turning to try to get comfortable. If you are like many of us, you may not have A/C to combat the rising temps. If that is the case, some of these suggestions may help:

  • Creating a cross breeze with windows and fans

  • Use a cold pack at the foot of your bed (wrap it in a towel/pillow case so it is not too cold on your toes!!!!)

  • Placing a small towel (or even your sheets) in the freezer - wrapping it around your neck/whole body can help chill things down

  • Try to sleep downstairs/in the basement if you have the opportunity

  • Use black out shades during the day to try and keep the heat out and the cool in

  • Use cotton sheets (or less sheets!)

Chill Out with Your Work Out

Exercise can really suffer when it gets hot - it just isn't comfortable and the cost/benefit ratio doesn't always pan out (don't want heat stroke or a sun burn!). There are ways to keep up the fitness despite the heat.

  • Beat the heat and work out in the mornings or later in the evenings

  • Choose shady forest hikes over open fields

  • Water holes, rivers, and lakes can provide fun ways to cool off

  • "Hike" a mall or super market - they have A/C!

  • Get a temporary gym pass for the hot months - they also have A/C!

  • Train your body gradually with the summer's increasing heat so that it is prepared for the higher temps (i.e. not a good idea to start a new outdoor routine with 100+ weather)

  • Shorten your normal outdoor program or slow your pace to account for the heat

  • And, as before mentioned, drink LOTS of water

Don't Heat What You Eat

Turning on the stoves/ovens will just increase those indoor temps. Try out some new recipes that focus on more foods that don't require as much cooking prep. If you are having to cook, try to keep it during the cooler hours during morning or night so that you can open up the house to ultimately cool down.

Small Changes make for a Healthier You!

The biggest hope is that, of course, the heat won't last for too long - however, even a week or two of not being active can affect your return to recreation. Remember, it can take use 4-6 weeks to gain what we can lose in 2!!! If you can make small modifications to your healthy routine during the higher temps, you can keep your body moving forwards and not have the weather hold you back.