By Tej Mehta
It’s currently 93 degrees, 47 percent humidity, and the sun is fully out - the weird weather we had here in the Mid-Atlantic throughout late March and April seems to have cleared out and made way for classic Maryland summer days. Here are some things to keep in mind while being outside during these warmer months of the year:
1. Bring Extra water
During the winter, our body's thirst response is reduced and our sweat evaporates, decreasing our body’s perceived need to drink. During the summer, the thirst response increases, and we sweat more, making us feel much thirstier. To avoid being caught out on the trail licking up the last few drops at the bottom of the bottle, plan ahead and bring extra water. This especially applies if you plan to head out into the wilderness where a refill spot may be less accessible.
2. Protect your skin from UV radiation
With the sun beating down, your skin is going to be exposed to significant UV radiation.
Therefore, take this as a friendly reminder to put on sunscreen this summer to protect yourself from developing skin cancer in the future.
For more information about sunscreen and how best to protect yourself, see our article Sunscreen 101
3. Acclimate to the temperature changes
Acclimation to temperature is key to making sure that you don’t suffer in hot and humid conditions. As the temperature begins to change, go out and do something easy to get used to this new heat. Gradually pick up the intensity of the activity you do so that when you start to do strenuous things the heat isn’t a major detriment.
I can speak about this point from personal experience - I put down some hard efforts while mountain biking at local trails the day after returning from the Lake Erie area where I had gotten used to the cooler and relatively dryer weather; I ended up feeling sick and burnt out because the 85 degrees 50 percent humidity caught me off guard.
4. Take breaks
Lastly, remember to take plenty of breaks while being out in the heat. Resting for 5 minutes is a great way to help your body cool down, and can give you a boost in performance as you continue on.