Related: Exercise, Health, Wellness

The Summer is ON – Health and Safety Tips

 
 

When has summer break NOT been fun?  Well, considering I’ve had summer break every year since the age of 4…NEVER!  I have never been off the school schedule, the benefit of working AT a school, and I’m sure the reason why so many people become educators.

In Southern California, where I grew up and lived the majority of my life, the summer heat was not so bad.  Being a dry, desert-like climate, even when the weather is 95 degrees, you can still manage because the humidity is under 10%.  There is a temperature difference under trees and next to buildings, nothing is held in by the humidity.  When it was hot, in the afternoons I would go the 15 miles to the beach and chill with my friends and play Barrels (a frisbee game).  When I worked at Malibu Yogurt, after work I would go running on the beach cause up the grade it was 15 degrees warmer.  When I would take summer school in college, we would play basketball from 10-midnight under the lights.  Those were the best summers.

All my friends had pools, so I would swim, run, and play outdoors.  My brother and I would hit golf balls out of our backyard into the national park.  Or we would just go play twilight golf at the local par 3.

When I went to grad school in Greensboro, NC, there was no shortage of 10-minute escapes to go running/biking/hiking.  I quickly found a group of friends to go bike riding with, and everyone was so gosh-darn friendly!  I did have an awakening when I moved there in July, I decided to go run at noon when the temp was a manageable 85 degrees.  I’d gone running when its 105 at home!  No problem.

Wrong.

The heat is unstoppable when its humid.  In athletic training land, the saying is: “at 85 and 85, stay inside to stay alive”, meaning at 85 degree heat with 85% humidity, you cannot lose body heat via sweating, and you will PERISH if you are outside for too long exercising.  The heat can kill you!

I came inside from running in Greensboro and my roomate said, “Oh, did it rain while you were out?”  No, it was just the sweatiest 40 minutes of my life and I felt like I was going to pass out for 35 of them.

During the summer, if you work out, DRINK A LOT OF WATER.  If you walk from the metro to and from your destination, DRINK A LOT OF WATER.  During the summer, if you are alive, DRINK A LOT OF WATER.  If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

How much is a lot?  For me, I’ll drink 3-4 1000ml Nalgene bottles a day.  3-4 Liters a day.  ON A REGULAR DAY.  If I go out running for more than an hour, I’ll take my hand held with me.  When I run long in the summer, I’ll drink my handheld bottle in 60 minutes.  I make loops so I can refill it, or I carry my waist pack with 2 bottles in it.

Also, being out in the city in the summer is NOT being out in the city in rural Agoura Hills CA or Greensboro NC.  People are out later.  People are bored and fill time with mischief.  Many times we get our exercise in at night when its cooler.  Do you wear headphones?  I don’t know how many times I run without headphones and I run up to people walking with headphones on and I scare them as I pass.  I’m inches from them…imagine if I wanted to hurt them?  Don’t blast your headphones, make sure you can still at least hear passing cars.

Since I moved to Maryland I started wearing a Road ID whenever I go out.  I think the increase in bicyclist injuries made me do it.  That and 20% off from my triathlon club.  Its a bracelet/anklet that you wear with pertinent info so if you get hurt or something, a passer-by will know who to call.  Just today I was running next to Catholic University and a car almost ran me over as it pulled out of a driveway into the sidewalk.  I came to a stop 2 feet from the car and threw my hands up…WHY?  The driver just waved at me, ha ha my bad.  This happens to me almost every time I run out in the city.  The driver always waves happily in a goofy way, sheepishly admitting their mistake.  This is why one should ALWAYS obey traffic signals and creep around protected driveways.  The drivers think its funny that they almost hit you.  I’ve had too many friends be hit.  I don’t care if I don’t see any cars or other people are running across the street.  I won’t do it, I value my life too much.

So, the summer for me is great, besides the avoiding being run-over part.  I’m not in the city, I get to structure my own workouts and get leaner and meaner for my racing season.  I get some sweet sock and shorts tans from being outside, and the veggies and fruit are finally in season.  There’s nothing like fresh zucchini and tomato kabobs grilling on a warm summer evening.

The summer is MY TIME to set MY SCHEDULE.  I can work out at 6am and beat the heat, sleep for 3 hours, and then go to the pool at noon!  I see too many students just get lazy over the summer, immobilized from a lack of structure, and return 15-20 pounds heavier…it breaks my heart to think all that time was wasted.  The food is the best, the people and friends are the happiest, the sun is shining the longest…I want to look and feel my best!  Heck I AM my best in the summer.  That’s what my summer is for, to recharge my batteries with sunshine, long bike rides, friends, and cookouts to get me ready for next winter.

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Trinity Center for Women & Girls in Sports
125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202-884-9092  Fax: 202-884-9099  trinitycenter@trinitydc.edu
Director: Shae Agee