Keeping cool and hydrated this summer
Summer is a great time for backyard barbecues with friends and family, but as the sun brightens and temperatures rise, the need to be aware of hydration and body temperature becomes especially important.
Studies show small amounts of sunlight are important to our health, but it’s easy to get too much. As we age, our bodies can lose the ability to regulate temperature and, as the weather warms, exposure can become dangerous.
Fortunately, recent studies show that most beverages are a step in the right direction. “It helps to think of ‘water’ as a nutrient your body needs,” said Dr. Ann Grandjean, director of the International Center for Sports Nutrition, in Omaha, Nebraska. “The nutrient ‘water’ is present in plain drinking water, of course. But, it is also present in other fluids like juice, coffee and other beverages, as well as in most foods, in varying amounts. This nutrient ‘water’ is absorbed by the body and acts the same physiologically regardless of its dietary source.”
Even though water is best for you, the important thing isn’t so much what you drink, just that you do. And keep eating, too. Here are some helpful tips on staying hydrated this summer:
Make it fun. Jazz up your water with lemon, lime or cucumber, and mix up fresh, fruity mocktails.
Fill plastic or metal water bottles with your drink of choice, store them in the fridge and always keep a fresh, cold one by your side to drink from throughout the day.
Any time you venture outside, take a beverage along and sip from it every few minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
Doctors say that feeling thirsty means you’re already dehydrated. Give yourself reminders to drink, such as every time you take any medication, and before and after every meal.
Always keep a drink by your bedside.
Beating the heat and staying hydrated also means staying cool. While seniors with risk factors such as obesity, heart disease and those taking certain medications are most at risk, exposure to heat can be dangerous to anyone, especially those over the age of 65. According to Dr. Luther Harrell of the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, “It takes older people almost twice the time of younger people to return to core body temperature after exposure to extreme outdoor temperatures.”
Practice summer safety and protect yourself against the dangers of exposure by using these helpful tips:
- Avoid the outdoors in the middle of the day. The best time to be outside is early in the morning and late in the evening. If you are outside in the afternoon, find the shade!
- In the afternoon, entertain yourself inside with games, books and movies, and go for morning or evening walks with friends.
- Keep your space cool. Use air conditioning if you have it, or use window shades to keep out the heat and fans to circulate the air. Open windows in the morning and evening to naturally cool your space.
- On warm days, take cool showers or baths.
- Choose the right clothing. Whether indoors or out, wear loose fitting clothing, made from natural materials like cotton. When you must go out during the hot part of the day, always wear a wide-brimmed hat and choose garments that are light in color, as dark colors absorb heat, and light colors reflect it.
By following these simple tips, you’ll have a safe and fun summer! At Holiday, days are never short on “cool” entertainment, and our residents choose from a life-enriching activity calendar full of fun and exciting things to do each day. Schedule a visit today!