Staying Healthy & Hydrated in the Heat

Amidst recent heat wave temperatures, the challenge to remain cool and comfortable steadily increases. We know to stay inside air-conditioned rooms, keep a bottle of water around, and limit sun exposure. But what can we do with our nutrition to stay healthy during this sweltering summer?

1. Eat Small Regular Meals

Although portion control exists as a common concern of the standard American diet, malnourishment is actually a concern of which to be mindful during the hotter days of summer. Often times, extreme heat can cause feelings of nausea and discomfort, deterring people from eating their usual three meals a day. Ringing true especially for the elderly, athlete, or field laborer, it’s important to continue eating regular small meals of fresh fruits and vegetables in order to maintain a balance of water and electrolytes. Pack healthy, hydrating snacks that can be easily and quickly digested such as berries, celery and bell pepper slices, apple slices, or tangerines.

2. Drink Enough Water…and then Drink a Little More

We all know to drink the gold standard 64 ounces or 2 liters of water a day. However, that standard only holds true in the average, unstressed environments. On days with over 90-degree temperatures and high humidity, your body’s hydration needs will exceed the baseline of 8 8-oz glasses. Drink water throughout the day to ensure proper hydration. However, schedule your water intake throughout the day to avoid pushing too much water and diluting electrolytes. Using a sharpie, mark every inch or two on your jug or bottle with hourly time increments to drink that quantity of water by that indicated time of the day.

3. Plan to Avoid Cooking

We get it. When it’s hot, the last thing you want to do is stand in front of an oven or stove or drip sweat down your body while standing to endlessly prepare meats and vegetables. Unfortunately, when you’re heading home after a long day and the idea of cooking in a hot kitchen seems unbearable, ordering take out seems much more appealing. Avoid this by preparing nutritious low-maintenance meals. Use a crockpot to make turkey chili early in the day or toss cooked quinoa with black beans, chopped bell peppers, and diced tomatoes in lemon juice and olive oil.

4. Don’t Neglect Your Workouts

If you have a difficult time finding motivation to work out regularly, it may be even harder to find the motivation in oppressive heat. Instead of outdoor activities, take advantage of your local air-conditioned gym. Change up your workouts with free weights, steps, battle ropes, plyometric movements, and even a couple of classes. Bring a friend for extra encouragement. If you’re unsure of what to do at a gym, find a workout on YouTube or Instagram or (even better) ask a personal trainer for help!

For more tips on how to eat well and workout in the summer, consult your local exercise physiologist and get working on your fitness goals!