Beat the Summer Heat

Beat the Summer Heat
Doug Nelson
Community Center Manager

As long-time residents of the Pacific Northwest, we can’t wait for our warm, sunny days. You can also say that we suffer through all the different types of weather that fall, winter, and spring can throw at us just so we can enjoy three months of beautiful weather. And if memory serves, a Northwest icon used to sing, “The bluest skies you’ve seen are in Seattle.” Sometimes our summertime weather can get extremely hot. We don’t experience it often, so we don’t always know what to do to stay safe. I’d like to share a few tips for staying cool when summer temperatures rise to dangerous levels.
Research suggests that it can be dangerous to work out when temperatures rise above 90 degrees. Therefore, if you are an avid exerciser that refuses to let a little heat slow you down, consider getting your workout in before 8 AM. Choosing locations that offer plenty of shade or a cool breeze would also be a great option. There are many great parks and trails in Federal Way with ample shade, and a few beach locations where a cooling breeze is likely. Temperatures are usually lower at higher elevations, so hikes, runs and bike rides in our beautiful mountain areas would be ideal.

Air conditioning is your friend when the temperatures go up, and many home owners choose to go without. If this is the case at your home, then plan your day or activities around places with great air conditioning; most community centers and fitness gyms, the mall or indoor shopping areas, movie theaters, indoor sports venues, and automobiles. One note of caution though – air conditioning will dehydrate the body, so bring extra drinking water along. That leads to my next point – be sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and functioning well. If you are exercising in warmer temperatures, plan on doubling the fluids you would usually drink before, during, and after exercise.

Last, and certainly not least – proper use of sunscreen and specifically designed workout clothing will help keep the body cool in the most extreme conditions. It is recommended that you apply sunscreen about 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and continue to apply every 1 – 2 hours. White clothing is recommended because it reflects the sun, while darker clothing will absorb heat. You can also find exercise and outdoor clothing with built-in UV protection.

Hopefully I’ve given you some helpful summertime recreation options that won’t blow your top!