Heat-Love and the (Vitamin) D

 Summer is upon us; that means sun, swimming pools, air conditioning, and relaxing. Staying indoors might seem like the best move for the time being as the sun is looking intimidating for this year, to say the least. In many ways, yes, staying indoors is a great strategy to beat the summer heat, yet if you are like myself, you might find yourself pondering about how much outside activity you should be getting. After all, time in the sun means massive quantities of Vitamin D being made in your skin, it’s free, and you don’t even have to worry about the risks of taking too much of this wonder vitamin orally. Becoming acclimated to the heat is an advantage in and of itself, as any subsequent drop in the heat later in the year will allow you to be energetic and motivated until it gets hot again. What does one need to operate within the heat while staying safe, not spending too much time in it, and gaining benefits from it?

Regulating one’s body temperature is essential to staying safe within the conditions presented by the summer heat. After all, it’s bad enough getting overheated from the outside-in, so what sense does it make to heat yourself from the inside-out? Dietary choices during the summer are some of the most important to make as they are the central mechanism of heat regulation within the body. Hot soups, toasted sandwiches, and oven-baked pizza might seem like delicious options, yet the heat content can harm you more than it can help you. In addition, foods heavy in grease and cooking oil can restrict blood flow in a time of the year where optimal blood circulation is essential to beating the heat. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional burger or pizza slice can be what you need to meet your calorie needs during the summer, yet do be aware of the consequences of keeping them as a large part of your diet especially during the hottest months of the year. Blood circulation is essential towards maintaining proper health during these hot months, so eating food that is less processed, cooler in temperature, and encourages healthy blood circulation, such as beets, will go far to mitigate the effects of the heat on you.

Dietary precautions aside, the benefits of becoming acclimated to the summer heat, to whichever capacity suits you, has some benefits that cannot be granted during any other time of the year. As mentioned, the massive amounts of Vitamin D, which helps with bone health, mood balance, weight loss, brain health, and cardiovascular health, can be obtained in massive quantities simply by wearing your summer clothes and going outside for a few minutes at a time. Under normal conditions, Vitamin D can only be taken orally in limited doses due to its tendency to reach toxic levels within the liver. By getting your Vitamin D from the sun, you are effectively bypassing that limitation.

Getting used to performing tasks under the condition of heat is greater than performing those tasks when adverse heat is not a factor. By gradually conditioning yourself to perform high-level tasks despite the heat is a long-term goal, emphasis being on long-term, for the summer season. By beginning with small tasks such as walking in the morning and going from store-to-store in a shopping plaza by foot rather than by car, you are incrementally increasing your heat stamina. Again emphasizing the lonAg-term nature of goals related to high-level tasks in the sun, perform these low-level tasks often enough, you will slowly develop some hardy stamina that will become effortless work by comparison once the peak heat begins breaking. Once the heat starts going away, you will be accustomed to high-level tasks such as running, full workouts outdoors, and running errands only now with a lower heat threshold; one’s stamina would be a sight to behold in the cooler months.

In conclusion, as long as proper precautions are observed during the hottest months of the year, there are a number of benefits to be gained from doing so. Increased Vitamin D and stamina are chief among these benefits, yet your progression should be slow, safe, and deliberate, supplemented by a diet suitable to the heat.


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