If you grew up in the south in the modern era, you probably also had to listen to at least one “back in my day” story about the days BAC—Before Air Conditioning. Southern children all have that one (or several) elder who spent the whole summer complaining about how kids these days couldn’t live with out air conditioning. All while they sat on their arm chair throne with the air vent at their feet.
But they’re right—that air conditioning does have a tendency to keep people indoors and on the couch during the summer months. For people who live in the deep south, particularly rural areas, this temptation can have long term effects on a person’s health. Heart disease and other conditions associated with poor diet and exercise are more common in those areas.
For one small town, that health crisis has taken on an even scarier threat.
So, to stay out of the hospital, medical experts say ending bad health habits are more important than ever. Here’s some tips on how to improve your health without having a heat stroke during the summer months.
- Stay hydrated.
As refreshing as a glass of iced tea is when its hot, it’s not the best choice. Whether you’re indoors or out, adding water to your diet is one way to improve your health. Harvard Health Publications says drinking 4 to 6 cups a day is enough for most people but it is possible to overdo it. Limit yourself to one glass of sweet tea or other sugary beverages at dinnertime.
- Plant a vegetable garden
Planting a garden is a great summer hobby. Extention.org says that if you have kids, it’s a great way for them to learn about plants and teach them about eating healthy. It’ll save you money on groceries and the lack of commercial pesticides will be better for you than store-bought anyway. Plus, homegrown vegetables almost always taste better. But don’t tend to your garden during the hottest hours of the day, that’s the quickest way to get sunburned—and burned out on gardening.
- If you exercise outside, do it in the morning or at dusk
On that same note, outdoor exercise is best avoided during the middle of the day. If you work out in high humidity, your body won’t be able to cool itself through sweat. Your body can overwork trying to keep you cool, which can lead to health problems. Try to exercise during the mornings or evenings. Even then, remember to bring sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Always know the signs of heat related illnesses.
- Exercise indoors
If you’re not a morning person or find it hard to get motivated to go jogging at 10 pm, try a different approach. You don’t have to have a gym membership or buy expensive equipment to get a good workout indoors. Here’s some great workouts you can do in the comfort of your own living room.
by Grace Holland