How to heat exhaustion is on everyone’s minds these days. Every summer feels like it is hotter than the last and most people talk about how high the humidity is in Florida. I grew up on the east coast of North Carolina and I can tell you the heat and humidity there make Florida feel cool. I remember going back to North Carolina in 2017 for my dad’s 80th birthday. The heat would take your breath away. The day I left to return to Florida it was 4:30am, and as I began driving south, I had to drive with my windshield wipers on at the highest level for the intermittent wipers. The funny thing was it was not raining. Believe it or not, the water from the humidity was dripping off the top of my car down my windshield and my back window so badly, I could not see without my wipers. Of course, the fog was so bad I could barely see ten feet in front of me. The temperature was 89 and the humidity was 98% at 5:00 am. Imagine the temp and humidity at noon. To say the least, I grew up in one of the most humid areas on the planet, so I know a little thing about dealing with heat and humidity.
Here are the 3 Best Things you can do to survive the heat.
#1- Drink plenty of water
I know this seems so obvious, but there are many who do not like the taste of water. I would suggest if this is you, squeeze some lemon or lime in your water to improve the taste. A side note here: de-hydration can cause cramping of the muscles. I found a product, TB12 Electrolyte drops, that has helped my wife with her leg cramps better than anything else she has tried. Sweating from the heat will help you sweat out toxins so sweating is not an entirely bad thing. However, sweating over a long period of time can dehydrate you. This dehydration will cause muscles to cramp as they are looking for fluid in the muscle tissue. The question is, how much water should you drink? My answer is, that depends, as any good lawyer would say. It depends on how much sweating you are doing and for how long. It depends on if you drink plenty of water on a daily basis or are you already dehydrated prior to being in the heat? If you drink too much water you can be over hydrated and it feels like the water in your stomach is sloshing around. This is not good either. My suggestion is to drink throughout the day and evening until bedtime. I have read about a skin test for de-hydration which asks you to pinch your skin. If the skin bounces back in place, your hydration may be good. If the skin does not bounce back so fast, you may be de-hydrated. As always check with your doctor before spending a long period of time in the heat.
#2 Take Breaks
I know when working in my yard it is difficult to stop what I am doing, go inside or sit in front of a fan in my garage. I can’t wait to see the finished job; however, I also understand the dangers of the heat. My goal is to work no more than an hour, usually 45 minutes, then either sit in front of the fan in my garage or go inside in the air-conditioned air. The amount you can be in the heat will depend on your health level, but the smart thing to do is realize that problems from heat exhaustion do not always present themselves as so obvious. Make yourself take those breaks even if it is every 30 minutes to prevent heat exhaustion and worse. Sometimes after I cool down I will get in my pool with my clothes on to keep me cool.
#3- Wear Long Sleeve Shirt and Pants
I know you must be thinking- WHAT??? This one sounded crazy to me when I was a teenager but hear me out. As a teenager, I worked on farms in North Carolina and as I said earlier, it can get very hot in the summer, especially from July through September. I worked for an old man who wore long sleeve shirts, long pants, and a hat. He wore cotton work clothes that were loose fitting, nothing tight or synthetic. I thought he was crazy until he explained to me why it works and can prevent heat exhaustion. You see, we are one of the few animals on the planet that have the ability to sweat. While there are many animals that can outrun us, they cannot sweat. Since man could sweat, our ancestors would chase them until they expired due to overheating.
Then this old farmer proceeded to tell me that by wearing the long sleeve shirt and long pants, the interior of the clothes would hold onto the sweat so when there was a breeze his body would remain about 10 degrees cooler than mine. I reply, “How can that be?” I was wearing a tank top and shorts and he explained that when the sun baked down on my bare skin, it immediately dried the sweat and increased the temperature of my skin. This would make me feel much hotter. I decided to listen to him and try it.
You won’t believe me when I tell you he was correct. When you add the hat, and I was not much of a hat person, the heat became more bearable, and I felt less fatigued at the end of the day. The skin on your head will sweat like the skin everywhere else. By wearing the hat, the hat gets wet from the sweat and cools your head to help prevent heat exhaustion as well.
My wife and I love to work in our yard, and I have been trying to convince her to wear more clothes when she worked outside. It took me about 15 years to convince her and now she swears by it.
What this old farmer knew was how to use his body to protect him from the heat. Most of us think of sweat as nasty and smelly, but it is a protective device of our bodies that can save your life in the heat
How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion? To Sum it up….
Be smart when outside in the heat. I see people driving around in their convertibles with the top down with no hat on, wearing a tank top shirt and shorts. This is so bad for your skin from cancer to heat exhaustion. If you have health issues and are on medications check with your doctor about how much exposure you can have in the heat. Stay in air-conditioned areas as much as you can and drink plenty of water every day, not just once in a while. If you must go outside, please dress appropriately and use your bodily functions to help you survive. Since many of you own a pool, and I imagine seldom use it, learn to use it more to keep you cool. We can prevent heat exhaustion and survive the heat with a little common sense and a willingness to listen to our bodies.
In using my technique, you are allowing the brain to release the muscles versus brute force that you see in many gyms and physical therapy. It takes practice, but once you get it, and you will, your body will feel more energized and vibrant.
Stretching is more about feeling the muscles letting go than forcing them to stretch. If you are forcing the muscle, you could be doing strength training, not stretching. Make sure you are feeling the intended muscle stretching. If not, the form could be wrong. Holding for 5 seconds allows the brain to release the muscle before it senses any danger. Repeating the stretches 10 times allows the brain to learn it is safe for the muscle to move that way.
Don’t forget the Tennis Ball Massage!
Softening your hips and back is easy when you use the tennis ball. Just lean against the wall and apply enough pressure to feel the painful area. The temptation is to press harder, but resist it. Instead, breathe out and allow the muscle to soften under the ball. Then move to another spot and repeat. Continue doing this until most of the painful spots are gone. Check out previous newsletters to see the video.
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About The Muscle Repair Shop
Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese, and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop Founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday. Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs. Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles of living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique.
Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allowing clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.