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Beat the heat

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trailrunningsun

Summer: the one season that has the power to make us suffer and enjoy it at the same time. It’s during these dog days that we have hours and hours of sunlight that lure us outside. The same sun bears down in relentless heat, which can zap the enthusiasm of even the most die-hard athlete.

And for us recreational athletes? Well, we get hot, too! It’s (kind of) tempting to hole up inside, but we don’t really want to. There’s vitamin D to absorb, after all! Blue sky! Sun! Here at Nikwax USA’s Seattle headquarters, those are in limited supply. We want to beat the heat, not escape it.

So, even if it’s hot enough to almost fry an egg on the sidewalk, we’ll take fresh air and scenery every time.

(A side note: always be on the lookout for symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

If you experience any of these symptoms, move to somewhere cooler, sip water, and stop rigorous activity.

Now—when it’s just hot, and not heat-exhaustion hot—here’s how we suggest you  beat the heat and  keep your cool.

  • Do acclimate. Don’t go out for a two hour hike in the heat of the day if you haven’t been consistently working out in the warmer temps. Build your way up time wise, so your body doesn’t go into shock when blasted with that blazing sun.
  • Do take advantage of the extra daylight. The cooler evening and morning temperatures are so much easier on the constitution than, say, high noon.
  • Do wear the right clothing. Clothes that wick and are light in color are the best choices for the summer swelter. Don’t forget that a hat/visor can also do wonders to keep you cool. Make sure you keep those wicking and cooling properties at there max by properly washing and maintaining your workout wear with products like Nikwax BaseWash.
  • Do hydrate properly. Avoid that last beer before bed and caffeine in the morning before that singletrack ride or five-mile run. Keeping on top of your hydration all day long (before, during and post workout) will help keep your body temperature regulated. Not a huge fan of H2O? Try adding some Nuun hydration tablets, or toss a slice of lemon into your water bottle.
  • Do choose your path wisely. Is there shade, access to a water fountain, a sprinkler or two that goes off during your route? Ask yourself what are the cooling benefits you will have access to based on the direction you go and maximize those advantages.
  • Do partner up. Nothing helps more than having a buddy to keep that motivation up, to keep accountability and to keep safe.
  • Do know when enough is enough. If you begin to feel any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke from dizziness to cramping, stop activity.
  • Do take care of yourself once back indoors. Continue to hydrate by jazzing up water with a slice of lemon, enjoying a coconut water or some green tea with honey, eating water-based fruits and veggies like watermelon, pineapple and cucumber and taking a cold shower.
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Author: Craig Randall

Integrated Services Director

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