Labor Day and the beginning of fall may be showing up on the calendar, but I can tell you summer is far from over. Here in Southern Cali temps are soaring and the humidity is over 90%. I’m from Pennsylvania and I know this time of year still has high temps and terrible humidity. I don’t know how the folks in the South handle it. Humidity in Southern Cali is not our usual. Hot, yes, dry, yes. And speaking of Labor Day, plenty of folks will be out enjoying the last break before back to school and the normal work routine. So it isn’t too late to prevent heat stroke. If it is a scorcher outside, but you still have to work, play sports, or walk outside, stay hydrated, and take frequent breaks.
If you notice the following signs, take action quickly as these may mean you are beginning to develop heat stroke.
1) Excessive sweating
2) Extreme thirst. (Did you know that by the time you start to feel thirsty you
have already lost a liter of fluid from your body?)
3) Muscle Cramps
5) Nausea and Dizziness
Here’s what to do:
2) Drink water or something like Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes.
3) Get into the shade or an air conditioned room
4) If you are outdoors you can use a bandana soaked in water around your neck.
Hyperthermia is the severe stage of overheating and requires immediate medical attention.
If you experience these symptoms, you are in danger:
1) Body temperature of 104* F or higher
2) No sweating
4) Rapid pulse (Normal rate for adults is 60 to 100 beats per minute.)
5) Hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness
6) Difficulty speaking or understanding
Until medical care is reached, soak the person’s clothes in water and place ice packs under the armpits, the groin, and the top of the head.
I KNOW I NEED TO HYDRATE
BUT I DON’T LIKE PLAIN WATER
Some people don’t like or get bored with plain old water, yet they know they need to keep hydrated. What to do?
1) Avoid soda pop. Too much salt and too many calories.
2) Add a squeeze or two of fresh lemon or lime. This will add a hint of tangy
flavor without the calories from fruit juice and lemonade.
3) Get fancy and freeze some lemon or lime-infused ice cubes and add them
to your glass of water.
4) Add a small piece of fruit to your water. This can add flavor and nutrients to your
water. Try berries, orange, pineapple, or peach slices.
5) Feeling sophisticated? Add a slice or cucumber or a couple of mint leaves.
By doing these simple things, you’ll be sure to drink more water.
AHHH! THE JOY OF BEING IN THE SWIMMING POOL
When I was house hunting, one of my criteria for the right place for me was that the place had to have a swimming pool. I saw some nice places, but no swimming pool, so they were not chosen. Happily, I bought a condo that comes with a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. And the weather now makes the pool a very popular place. I’d love to swim year round, but the homeowners’ association won’t go for a heated pool. Oh well. You can’t have everything.
Be that as it may, in addition to swimming, my daughter and I enjoy doing water aerobics as well. The water provides gentle resistance for muscles which allows a person to build strength without the stress to the joints and back. My bad knees love this. Swimming and water aerobics are great for anyone, including senior citizens, pregnant women, and those recovering from surgery. Water activities such as these work one’s heart and lungs so a person does receive cardiovascular and respiratory benefits. Daphne and I are a wee bit heavier than the average bear, so the buoyancy of the water makes exercising easier. Not to mention the water cools us down these hot August days. And that my friends, is a real blessing.
For weight loss and muscle toning, try a couple of these exercises.
To increase core strength: Place your back against the side of the pool while holding on to the deck. Lift your legs to 90*. While staying in this L shaped position, slowly swing your legs from one side to the other. Resist the urge to sag in your chest or lower back. At center, bend your legs in and out 10 times.
For shoulders: Raise your arms out to your sides and then down and back to the horizontal position 10 times. Or hold your arms out in front of you and make small circles in the water doing both directions. The goal is to gradually increase the size of the circles to that of a basketball.
For legs: (Trust me when I say I really need work on my legs. These exercises I do faithfully.) Try walking in the water, taking big strides.
With your back to the side of the pool, hold on to the side and bring your legs up to a perpendicular position. Open them to a V angle and then close 10 times to work your thighs and hips. When I injured the medial ligament of my left knee, the physical therapist told me to walk sideways as this would exercise my weak hip and thigh muscles, build them up, and take the stress off my knee. Doing this is much more fun and relaxing in a swimming pool. And I will tell you that my knee rarely bothers me (unless I am doing a lot of stair climbing, like up and down and up and down with the laundry).
Another good exercise is to keep your back against the side of the pool, and while holding on to the edge, point your legs down and do scissor kicks. These work the hamstrings and the quadriceps. And, both exercises have the added benefit of working the abs, too.
Now, I suppose, that most things aren’t perfect. I love the pool, but I have to watch for water in my ears that doesn’t drain easily and when people are speaking, it sounds like they are talking to me from a distant point. Some people’s eyes don’t do well with the chlorine. Here are some tips to make swimming an awesome experience.
- Chlorine is used, of course, to keep bacteria out of the pool. But, chlorine can dry out the skin, discolor one’s hair, irritate the eyes, or cause stomach upset. (I guess the moral of the story, is don’t drink the pool water and you won’t have an upset stomach.) Wear goggles while swimming. And if you wear contacts in the pool, you won’t lose them when you are looking under water.
To protect the hair, be old fashioned, and wear a swim cap, or wet your hair before you get into the pool. Wetting your hair helps to decrease the amount of pool water your soak up. I didn’t know that until I recently read something about it. This reminds me of my college days at Brigham Young University. I have mousy brown hair (no offense, mice) and while at college I wanted to look better than I did. So one summer I dyed my hair a nice auburn. I swam everyday at a friend’s apartment complex and I didn’t wear a swim cap. Those went out in the 50s, right? Anyway, one day I got out of the pool and while combing my hair, I noticed my hair had turned brown with a “nice” mossy green tone. I was mortified. Now maybe it wasn’t as noticeable as I believed it was, but I was sure everyone was looking at my hair. So, do you believe I wore a towel over my head as I walked to the store to buy brown hair color to cover the green? I think that probably got more notice than my greenish hair would have. I had to dye it twice to get rid of the green. (Too bad it wasn’t the year 2015 and I wasn’t in Southern Cali. I’d have fit right in with the hair colors of today.)
- Swimmer’s ear. This occurs when water traps bacteria inside the ear. Using over the counter drops before and after swimming may prevent this, but if it sets in you
may need to see a doctor.
- Check the pool rules and the depth of the water before taking a headlong dive into the water.
- Keep an eye on children, even if they have had swim lessons. Stay close enough to help them if needed.
STAY HYDRATED, STAY COOL, AND ENJOY THE REST OF THE SUMMER.