When the summer heat heats up, nutrition and hydration are essential to keep up with all outdoor activities and workouts according to Kristen Chang, MS, RDN, CSSD and the director of dietetics and nutrition within the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise located within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
It’s crucial to feed the body the calories as well as nutrients it requires to exercise during the summer scorching heat, Chang said.
“For exercise in the summer months it is essential to ensure that sufficient electrolytes, fluids, carbohydrates and carbs are consumed. It is essential to ensure that your blood sugar remain constant throughout your training. It is never a good idea to begin a exercise hungry,” Chang said.
Chang advises to be mindful about what you eat prior to exercise during the summer months to make sure you are prepared for the increase in sweat loss. This may include a higher intake of electrolytes and fluids, or food items with high water content, including:
Melons, like watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew
- Bell bells, peppers, tomatoes, celery
The athletes should pay close concentration on their hydration levels before and after their workouts, Chang said.
“You should ensure that when you sweat frequently, you’re replenishing the nutrients you’ve lost,” Chang said. “Have an insulated water bottle and sip all day. If you’re wearing a bulky sweatshirt or doing a long exercise outdoors, you’ll need replenish your electrolytes or buy the sodium you need to replace the sodium lost by sweat.”
“It’s vital to have the right electrolyte supplementation source that could come as a sports drink , or salty food items to go with drinking water.” Chang said.
“As an athletic dietitian I encourage people to pay attention to their body for hydration levels,” Chang said. “An easy method to do that is to observe what color your urine is. If it’s dark and concentrated , and you’re not using often go to the bathroom, then you’ll need to consume more fluids. In the event that your urine seems consistent clear and you’re frequently making pitstops, you might be excessively hydrated.”
To replenish your energy after exercise, Chang recommends a snack or meal with readily digestible carbs and proteins.
“Especially during summer’s temperatures, a lot of people complete their workouts, but don’t feel hungry. They aren’t hungry and aren’t hungry,” Chang said. “Regardless it’s crucial to feed your body the right the nutrients it needs to recover. In these situations liquid nutrients are the best to consume, such as juice, milk and smoothies.”
When the mercury is at its highest level, Chang said it’s important to begin to transition into outdoor activities.
“A majority of people do not know the effects that humidity and the heat take on our bodies. You should gradually begin these exercises to prevent any heat-related ailments. If you’re not feeling well you should slow down or stop. Keep yourself on the lookout for an hydration source always,” Chang said.