Spring is here and, even in Western Washington, we’ll have warm days and sun again (I have to believe the sun is up there somewhere). As the weather warms up, outdoor recreation and yard work are calling for attention and it’s important to stay cool (both for your image and your health).
Of course, if you have air conditioning, the easiest way to stay cool is to crank it up and do nothing. But let’s assume it’s sunny and warm and you will be outside, here are two very important keys to keeping cool and staying healthy:
Drink lots of water, before you get thirsty. Did you know that in a normal day, the average human body loses a gallon of water due to breathing, restroom-use, and sweating. And that’s without factoring in physical activity.
While it is very important to drink lots of water, it’s better to drink it consistently over time rather than rapidly and all at once.
A number of years ago, in a moment of brilliance, my cousin and I decided to have a water drinking contest. Bad choice. We drank water until it hurt. Luckily we were only nine or ten years old so we didn’t have the pain tolerance to continue. When we told our parents (somewhat triumphantly), they informed us that drinking too much water could cause much worse things, like death. Well, at least now we know better.
Wear sunscreen – a lot if you have fair skin. Did you know that as little as 20 minutes of sun can burn your skin? If you are going to be outside in the sun for an extended period, be sure to apply adequate sunscreen.
One of the worst experiences (and one of the best) I’ve ever had was when I went to Florida and Disney World during the heat of summer. Being accustomed to cloudy weather, I was not diligent about sunscreen. When my family and I went to the beach with some friends, we went in the water, which was quite warm by the way, and didn’t reapply sun screen.
After throwing a Frisbee and baking in the sun for an hour, I found that I was totally and unequivocally, fried. With second-degree burns on my ears, and a brilliantly bright red back, I felt like I had small needles jabbed into my skin for the rest of the vacation. Aloe Vera became my best friend.
So, if you want to avoid pain, and maybe even death, remember, when it does finally get sunny, slam back that water, and slather up that sunscreen.
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