It is a humid Labor Day here in Montgomery! I rode around nine this morning, just a light hack, and we were both sweaty messes. Coming to the end of summer, we still have to remember to keep ourselves and our horses well hydrated. I made the mistake of not staying hydrated yesterday. I did not do much but hang out at home and run some errands, so I did not really think about my fluid intake. When I went on my long run last night, I realized pretty quickly that I had not drank enough! Luckily, I brought water with me so I made it through all of my miles, but I felt awful after! I still have a slight headache today. The temperatures have been nice the past few weeks, but over the last few days the humidity has returned with a vengeance! I figured since I have posted tips on keeping horses healthy in the heat, I would post some on keeping ourselves healthy too!
Normally, when I do not completely forget to take care of myself, I drink water throughout the day. I recently got a Yeti cup, and I am in love! It keeps my water cold all day, even when it is outside or sitting in the hot truck. I also drink coconut water and Gatorade. I try to go easy on the Gatorade since it has so much sugar in it, but on days that I ride, run, and work outside it is necessary. Coconut water has electrolytes and potassium, but lacks the sodium that Gatorade has. Sodium gets a bad wrap by the health and diet world, but it is so important for athletes and outdoorsy people. We can lose a ton of salt when we sweat on hot and humid days, and it can cause an imbalance if we do not replenish it. A lot of healthy snacks and drinks lack sodium. I actually have had trouble consuming enough salt because my diet is so clean, which is why I now drink Gatorade. I also eat salty nuts, and try to cook with a little extra salt on humid days like today.
Along with staying hydrated, it is important to eat enough. Sometimes eating is the last thing I want to do when I am out in the heat, but I make myself do it. I usually eat light and snack more throughout the day. Macrobars, fruit, smoothies, salted nuts, Honey Stinger chews, and Larabars are my go to snacks for long and hot days. Macrobars are vegan protein and energy bars that I get from Whole Foods. They come in all different flavors. Honey Stinger is a brand that offers healthy, honey-based foods like protein bars, energy gels, etc. I really like their energy chews. They are healthy, natural, and delicious!
It is also essential to know the signs of heat exhaustion when we are outside. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, stop what you are doing and have some water and an electrolyte drink. Also, if you suddenly stop sweating or feel cold there could be a problem; so again, stop what you are doing and hydrate. Headaches and fatigue are also a sign that you could be dehydrated, or have not had enough salt and electrolytes. I am not an expert, nor do I have any medical training, these are just things that I have experienced or been told when exercising out in the heat.
We are supposed to be getting a “cool” front later this week. By “cool,” I mean that we will have lows in the high 60s and highs in the 80s… I am hoping the humidity lets up a little too! September means that we are in our last few weeks of extreme heat, and Fall is just around the corner. I hope you all are having a wonderful and safe Labor Day!