As the mass-exodus towards the beach, shore, lake, swimming hole, geyser, and even your own backyard begins at 2p (read 5p) today in celebration of Memorial Day weekend, it reminds us all that we are finally an arm’s reach away from summer.
Summer is personally my favorite season as there is something to say about the euphoric feeling beaches, bathing suits, baseball, and cold beers on a warm night bring. Keeping this in mind, summer is also notorious for the endless weekend barbeques, sugar-based everything, and temperatures hot enough to even get your own father to touch the thermostat.
That being said, here are the first few of a series of suggestions/recommendations to ensure that you have a safe, healthy summer season. Enjoy and lets all toast to a summer of less stress and beautiful weather that is filled with adventure and goofiness!
1.) UV crazy to go outside with out protection.
Between the hours of 10a and 4p exposure to UV rays are the most hazardous and you don’t even have to be able to see the sun in order to be painfully kissed by it either (crazy, I know). If you’re anything like me, those are usually the hours I try to lay out or at least be outside (oops!).
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using sunscreen with a sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection while outdoors. If you are outside for more than 2 hours, go for a swim, or just a heavy sweater, make sure to reapply often.
Also, wearing sunglasses that block as close to 100% of UVA and UVB rays as possible are essential. Try to pick sunglasses that fully wrap-around as coming from experience, sun-burnt eyelids is not “IN” or fun regardless of the great conversation starter it will create.
The CDC also recommends seeking shade when possible, wearing protective clothing, and wear a hat if needed if you are not exercising. Research shows Philadelphia Phillies hats are the best for sun-protection and therefore I highly recommend wearing them whenever in public, especially in the New York and Atlanta metropolitan areas (no scientific evidence backs this statement).
2.) Bahama Mama’s will become the main investor in your rear-end expansion project.
I know, it is hot as sin outside and those fruity, sugary alcoholic beverages look like the saving grace to beating the heat and landing you somewhere up on cloud 9 at the same time. Warning: proceed with caution! Drinks like margaritas, pina coladas, Bahama Mama’s, and other tantalizing drinks are loaded with calories and copious amounts of sugar. An average 12 oz Pina Colada has about the same amount of calories as a McDonald’s Big Mac.
What’s a beach bum to do then?
My recommendation – if you are going to have an adult beverage (i.e. you need to be an adult and legally allowed to consume alcohol) try one of these instead:
Michelob Ultra (95 calories, 2.6 carbs)
Purple Haze (128 calories, 11 carbs)
Tire Bite Golden Ale (124 calories, 7.4 carbs)
Stella Artois (135 calories, 9 carbs)
Amstel Light (95 calories. 5 carbs)
4 oz. Cabernet Sauvignon – 90 Calories
4 oz. Chardonnay – 90 Calories
6 oz. Rum and Diet Coke – 65 Calories (1 oz. Rum, 5 oz. Diet Coke)
6 oz. Vodka and Soda Water – 65 Calories (1 oz. Vodka, 5 oz. Soda Water)
7.5 oz. Gin & Diet Tonic – 115 Calories (1.5 oz. Gin, 6 oz. Diet Tonic)
So cheers to that icy cold beverage on those smoking hot summer days!
3.) Get your run/jog on at the beach, shore, lake, swimming hole, or geyser.
One of my favorite things to do by the beach is go for a run. There is nothing more exhilarating then running along the sand, listening to the waves, and seeing all of the beautiful and often bewildering people and sites you will see on the beach (helps with motivation too).
For many of us, there is just something about sand that screams “I’d like you to run on me.” Don’t get me wrong, beach running can be an amazing experience and even make you a stronger runner; however, there are some things to keep in mind as the sand slides in-between your toes.
My recommendation, if you have never run on the sand before start out by running on the wet sand first. It will be much firmer and easier to run on as it mimics the integrity of pavement or trail a lot more closely than dry, soft sand. Also, make sure to stick to flatter ground when you can unless, of course, you enjoy twisted ankles, sore calves and achy knees.
Regarding pacing, really consider the philosophy of “slow and steady.” You’re muscles will already be on overdrive as they will be functioning on an unfamiliar surface, so don’t overdo it as this will increase your risk for injury. Instead, I usually aim to run my miles at about a minute to a minute and a half slower pace while gliding across the sand.
Lastly, ensure that you are properly hydrated and protected from the evil UVA and UVB rays mentioned earlier. Just because you are surrounded by water doesn’t mean you will be absorbing it through osmosis during your run. Hydrate up!
4.) Beat it heat, I want to exercise!
My first recommendation would be to avoid exercising outdoors during the dog days of the summer while the sun is up, bright as can be, and mocking your strength and will to exercise. However, if you must exercise during the steamy hours of the day, here are my thoughts and recommendations on the safest ways to do so:
Exercise to a rising or setting sun – this will often be the coolest portions of the day and personally it’s just kind of cool to watch the sun rise and/or set while you’re out for your run, walk, bike ride, and/or swim.
Don’t wear a hat! – think of wearing a hat on a hot day as like putting a lid on a boiling pot of water. You are simply trapping the heat that is screaming to escape and thus creating an internal buildup. Most of your body heat is lost through the top of your head and believe me, no one wants to see you blow your lid, so ladies and gentleman, hats off please.
Utilize the moisture wicking clothing – unlike the technically technical fibers that Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, etc. use in their athletic clothing now, cotton based clothing will actually soak up your sweat making your clothes heavier than my heart after watching Marley & Me. This will limit your body’s ability to cool down. So let’s make a stoppin’ to wearing that cotton.
Pour some water on me – both psychologically and physically stimulating, pouring cool to ice cold water over your head will not only help with the cooling process, but it will also make you feel cooler as well (Mike Posner style). My recommendation, bring some chilly water to squirt on your head throughout your workout.
(For kicks, feel free to hide in the woods of your local running trail with a Super Soaker 4000 filled with ice cold water and shoot runners as they run by… They’ll love it!)
5.) Say hell no to sitting Mayo.
So you’re at a picnic and barbeque and there is a cornucopia of side dishes, pasta “salads”, and the infamous “I don’t know what animal that came from” meat. Whatever you do, stay away from anything that may contain mayo, cream, or dairy that’s been left outside in the beating sun for long periods of time.
Simply put: Hot Sun + Time + Cream like substance = Drastic Increase for Disease & Bacteria
Instead, become a health advocate at your local barbeque or picnic and remind people to wrap it up and keep those dishes cool because no one likes to spend their summer days barking commands from the porcelain throne.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everyone. Be safe and have fun!