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Keeping Your Heart Healthy in Summer Heat

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Heart Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

It’s mid-April and the evidence of spring is abundant – flowers are blooming, gardens are delivering their first fruits, and the sounds of pounding feet and children’s laughter ring through the parks and hike and bike trails. The weather is a perfect, glorious counterpoint to the cold, dark dampness of winter. It’s truly a perfect time of year marred only by its impermanence: Spring is, unfortunately, too short-lived and quickly gives way to the too brilliant heat of summer.

This season of vacations seems created to de-stress even the most battle weary corporate executive or super-powered-wonder-woman-working-mom. Vacations, waters sports, cycling, or simply sitting on the front porch watching a glass of iced tea sweat – summer seems to have been created to engage in heart healthy life changing activities that lower high blood pressure, melt off those extra pounds, tone and shape those muscles, generally improve your health, and make your smile!

What more could anyone ask for? Well, perhaps just a little less brilliance from the sun and a bit more moderation in the thermometer. While summer is the perfect time to breathe in fresh air and escape the confines of the concrete world we live in, it’s also a time of what can sometimes be stifling and unbearable heat. When combined with humidity over 70 percent, that lovely sun we worship can become deadly.

One of the amazing things about the human body is that we come with a built in air conditioner – a natural cooling system if you will that enables us to cool down when overheated. Overheating causes sweating which cools the skin and lowers body temperature. When you exercise outdoors, summer heat and humidity circumvent this natural cooling, resulting in excessive sweating, loss of fluids, and a heart working overtime to deliver needed blood and oxygen; all of which take a toll and may result in damage to the brain or heart.

Those lovers of the sun among us need to watch for three main summer enemies that seek to rob you of your outdoor fun: dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Dehydration: Believe it or not, we’re made up of mostly water.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for letting me know that the links are no longer current. The Crozer site (third link) indicates that they just redesigned the entire site. I'll contact them and see if they have a new link for this article. If so, I'll post it here.

If you do a ctrl-click on the first link above, it takes you to this page:
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Hot-Weather-and-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_423817_Article.jsp which contains additional information that you need.

The second link works for me as-is.

Please let me know if you are still experiencing difficulties.
Kind regards, Mary

July 7, 2011 - 6:57am
EmpowHER Guest

OK advice but 2 of the 3 links under sources don't work to learn more.

July 7, 2011 - 5:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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