The summer season has officially arrived. Even if the first day of summer isn’t for a few more weeks, the warm temperatures, relentless humidity and lots of sunshine are here to stay. When weather like this becomes our new normal, it makes you want to do one of two things; either you want to spend every minute outside, enjoying all the classic summer activities – swimming, hiking and gardening. Or you want to soak up as much cool air as you can by staying indoors with air conditioning.
But the truth is, neither one of these extremes is great for your heart. Ideally, we all have some combination of routine exercise, as well as relaxation and rest, especially for those at risk for or living with a heart condition.
As we continue adjusting to the rising temperatures, here are a few tips to keep your heart healthy all summer long:
1. Take it slow.
Before you rush out the door for summertime fun, give your body time to adjust and gradually work up to increased amounts of activity. This is important for everyone to remember because high temperatures force our hearts to pump harder in order to help cool the body.
Plus, if you already have a heart condition, this additional work can compound and put additional stress on the cardiovascular system.
2. Stay hydrated.
While sweat is an essential way that your body stays cool, it can also lead to dehydration or something more serious, like heat exhaustion. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to promote overall heart health, support healthy blood levels and minimize strain on blood vessels.
A good rule-of-thumb is to always have water or a drink with electrolytes with you, especially if you’re outside for 30 minutes or more.
3. Keep it cool.
When daily temperatures highs reach 90+ degrees, you can become overheated before you know it. Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can stay cool and comfortable, while also protecting heart health.
First, try to avoid peak temperatures – from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – and enjoy time outdoors in the morning or evening. Second, when you do go outside, wear clothes that are light and breathable and don’t forget a hat.
4. Enjoy seasonal foods.
One of the easiest ways to support heart health is by eating a balanced diet with key nutrients, like fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamins K, C and E. With many fruits and vegetables in season during the summer months, now is the perfect time to enjoy heart-healthy produce, such as:
- Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries)
- Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach and arugula)
5. Stay up-to-date with your care.
In addition to using these helpful tips to support your heart health throughout the summer months, it’s important to keep up with your cardiologist and routine care needs. As your partner in lasting heart health, your cardiologist can help you avoid potential summer health hazards, while also ensuring that feel your best. Request an in-person or video visit with a cardiologist of Georgia Heart Institute today!