The summer heat can be deadly in Florida. This time of year heat and humidity can stifle even the healthiest of people. Sustained strenuous activity can be quite the challenge. As you sweat profusely, you will find yourself losing massive amounts of water and nutrients. It isn’t enough just to drink water. In this environment, when you are pushing your limits for extended periods of time, you need both water and nutrients if you want to perform at your best. As an avid kayaker and having worked in landscape maintenance and roofing in Florida, I am no stranger to the brutality of the Florida sun. Here are a few tips and tricks I learned over the years that are useful on the job and for recreational activities.
Before you do anything outside make sure you have an ample supply of water. Whether I am going to work or heading out to one of the many lakes Central Florida has to offer, I bring at minimum a gallon of water. Make sure you drink as much as you can as often as you can. Never go more than an hour without hydration.
Wear a hat. Out here the sun can get pretty intense. Not only does a hat keep you from getting burned to a crisp it can also provide a bit of shade. The bigger brim the more the shade. I prefer straw cowboy hats but floppy hats work good too. Either way a good hat can save you a world of misery.
Wear bright colored shirts. Wearing bright yellow or orange will help you reflect some of the sun’s rays rather than absorb them all.
Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses not only help you see better through the blinding rays of the sun and protect your eyes, they also keep you from squinting. The more comfortable you are the cooler you feel and the better you can perform. Investing in a good pair of shades is a must.
Find shade. Sometimes getting out of the sun for a few minutes is all it takes to recharge your batteries. Stopping ever so often to cool off can keep you going for long periods of time. If you are feeling faint, take a break in the shade if possible and hydrate.
Get a cooling towel. Cooling towels are inexpensive and can significantly lower your body temperature. I usually keep one in my pocket and use it when I’m hydrating.
As your body loses massive amounts of water, it isn’t uncommon to experience muscle cramps. Bananas can be your best friend. Bring a few with you for snacking or to eat when you are finished with your activity. Juicing fresh oranges is also really good for eliminating muscle cramps. Fresh orange juice is loaded with many of the nutrients lost through sweating. At the end of the day when your muscle cramping is at its worst, just throw a few oranges into your juicer and you’ll feel better before you know it.
For the most extreme cases of muscle cramps, Pedialyte works like magic. You can pick it up at most grocery stores or at your local drug store. It’s like drinking concentrated Gatorade but you would be amazed at how good it works. Pedialyte has saved my life on numerous occasions. On some evenings when I was roofing, I would cramp so bad at the end of the day I thought it would never end. No matter how severely my muscles were cramping, Pedialyte never let me down. It works every time.
Whether you are working hard or playing hard, keeping hydrated and replenishing nutrients lost through sweating is a must if you want to survive in the extreme heat. The Florida sun can be your worst enemy if you are not equipped for it. With a little preparation and knowledge, you can save yourself a world of hurt. By following these tips and tricks you will be equipped to perform at your best in hottest of climates.
What helps you perform in extreme heat?