Temperatures are rising and another side effect of aging is the inability to regulate our body temperatures as we once did. Now that I have a brand new hip, the outdoors are so appealing until I get hot and sweaty! Here are some of my favorite items for combating the outdoor heat:
Sweat-wicking technology: One mistake I’ve made is buying these garments 2-3 sizes larger in order to have them hang loosely on my body. Note: They won’t wick away sweat if they don’t touch your skin. When in a humid environment, sweat cannot evaporate, leaving a slimy film over your body from which heat cannot escape thus increasing your risk of heat stroke. Do you really need to spend a lot of money on these specialty fabrics? Maybe. There are so many variable factors: how long you will be active, how much you sweat, how cute you want to look? I can usually purchase a generic outfit for under $20 or could easily spend over $200 for the high-tech, brand-name versions. Sometimes it’s worth every penny, sometimes not.
These are some of my favorite, brand-name, “wicking” clothing. I’ve even worn these Nike Dri Fit leggings into the swimming pool and ocean. They dry so quickly yet will trap sand so you’ll still want to remove them immediately after beach activities.
Lightweight Bike shorts, camis or sports bras. These are my staple, summertime undergarments. I prefer bike shorts with the built-in pantyliners and the camis with the shelf bras but of course your preferences are your own. The important thing is they hug the body without being restrictive which provides comfort, soaks sweat and keeps your thighs and other skin folds from sticking together. Bonus! Rather than spend money on specialty anti-thigh-chafing garments, my generic bike shorts absolutely do the trick and can be worn with or without over-garments.
Light and loose clothing made of natural fabrics. Cotton, Linen, Bamboo are all light and breathable fibers. Due to my lack of body confidence, I wear these over my wicking under-garments. Each time I happen to find myself walking behind someone with visibly sweaty butt-cheeks soaked through their super cute linen dress, I’m reminded why I prefer bike shorts.
UV-protective clothing with long sleeves and air flaps. I personally love fishing shirts as they are vented for body cooling and come with plenty of zippered pockets for holding keys, money, phone, chapstick. No need for a purse if you have a fishing shirt. These are perfect for all those outdoor summer cookouts, festivals, fairs and concerts. I wear these shirts over my swim suit and in the water. You can find UV protective clothing in shops that sell gear for outdoor sports.
- Large, wide-brimmed hats. I prefer the ones with the chin straps so they won’t be blown away in the wind or water.
- Personal Fans: I can produce more air with the old-fashioned, folded, hand fans than with a small battery-operated fan but any type of fan is appreciated when sweaty. Foldable fans are inexpensive, lightweight and won’t upset you if lost.
- Neck Coolers: I had no idea there were high-tech varieties of these but there are. My experience has only been the homemade neck-tie/bandana varieties; soak them in ice water, wrap around your neck. You’ll be sopping wet but at least feel cooler.
Additional tips and reminders:
- Remove wet clothing promptly! Once I’ve returned indoors from the heat, I peel off all the garments, quick rinse in the shower, throw on some very loose, breathable clothing for a cool down. Bacteria and yeast love hot and moist environments. Don’t give them the opportunity to thrive.
- Allow your body to cool down: The experts say it should take 5-10 minutes to cool down after a workout. In my case, it takes a solid 15-20 minutes after a cool shower for my body to stop actively sweating after nothing more active than a casual walk in a warm climate. A strenuous workout takes me even longer. I avoid all restrictive clothing until my body has cooled. Know your own body. Now, it’s oh so clear to me why the elderly women from my childhood wore house dresses or muumuus. I may be shopping for some of those, later today.
- Avoid peak heat hours of the day
- Drink plenty of water!
- Soak a paper towel or wash cloth in cold water and place on the back of your neck.
- Run cold water over your wrists.
- Slow sip cold water
- The alcohol in hand sanitizer aids in sweat evaporation, great for those armpits too, feels fresh
- In an emergency, pour lukewarm water over your head.
*Important Note: Not all bodies are the same. If you are sweating excessively or if your sweat produces extraordinarily pungent odors, it might be caused by a medical condition. Jessica Caporuscio, Pharm.D. offers “Tips For Reducing or Stopping Sweating” and suggests keeping a journal of your symptoms. Journals provide valuable information to specialists in making appropriate diagnoses.
*Also of interest: Synthetic, wicking fabrics are not best for the environment. The leggings above were made from recycled plastic bottles yet the value of such garments is debatable. See article on Greenwashing. I try to keep only a few of these items and use until they are absolutely no longer functional. I then try my best to recycle them again into something else. If you have suggestions on how to combat heat without using these fabrics, please share.