Have a Heart Healthy Summer this July
Protect your heart this summer! We’re embracing some of the hottest temperatures of the year. People are soaking up the sun and staying active, but the heat can be harmful to your heart health. This summer, the American Heart Association wants to encourage you to protect your heart in every way you can.
Hydrating is critical for your heart health. Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently. Dehydration can be a serious condition that can lead to problems ranging from swollen feet or a headache to life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Water is best!
Think you’re ready to brave the heat?
- Watch the clock and buddy up. It’s best to avoid the outdoors in the early afternoon (about noon to 3 p.m.) because the sun is usually at its strongest, putting you at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
- If you can, exercise with a friend, because it’s safer — and more fun — to have someone at your side.
- Protect your family from the sun: wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
How should you fill a heart healthy grill?
Summertime means grilling and barbeque season, plus countless fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Keep these tips in mind when making delicious meals that are also heart healthy.
*Check out the "Simple Cooking with Heart" Video on Choosing and Cooking Leaner Cuts of Meat below.
Summer also brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables to grocery stores, farmers’ markets and local gardens. That means more opportunities to add tasty and heart-healthy foods to your everyday meals. Check out which fruits and vegetables are currently in season.
*Two of the greatest risks of spending too much time outdoors during the summer are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Know the symptoms!
Top tips for staying cool during your summer workout:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.
2. Exercise smarter, not harder.
Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun’s radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity. And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else where you can get in regular physical activity.
3. Ease in to summer.
Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures. “An increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.
4. Dress the part.
Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the body; rather, the evaporation of sweat into the atmosphere,” Franklin said. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton.
5. Team up.
If you can, exercise with a friend or family member. It’s safer, and could be more fun. See more.
Important dates in July
7/1 - Summer Heart Health Month begins
7/4 - Independence Day
7/28 - World Hepatitis Day