Even though Labor Day is upon us, when you’re a DIYer, it’s not unusual to have a variety of projects to work on over the weekends. Some projects require warm temperatures and long days to get everything done, while others just happen to pop up. Regardless of the reason you’re working on things, there’s one inevitable truth that you’ll have to face: It can get really hot when you’re working on things around the house during the summer months and into early fall.
It’s so it’s important to play it safe when you’re working out in the sun. Here are just a few things that you can do to avoid heat-related problems.
This one should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t drink enough during the warm weather. Increase your water intake before, during and after any periods where you’ll be out in the heat and sun. As hard as it is to hear, you should also try and avoid coffee, tea and other drinks with caffeine before going out in the sun as well, because the caffeine content can actually make you lose more water. Avoid sugary carbonated drinks and alcohol, though the occasional sports drink or other beverage with electrolytes won’t hurt, since your body needs electrolytes for proper functioning, as well.
Take Your Time
If you’re used to air conditioning, trying to take on a full workload outdoors can significantly increase your risk of heat-related health problems. Instead, try tackling smaller tasks with big breaks between until your body gets accustomed to being out in the sun.
Dress for the Weather
When it’s hot, it’s tempting to wear as little as possible. This can be a bad idea when you’re working outdoors, though. Not only does less fabric increase your risk of sunburn but it can also make you more likely to experience some sort of injury when you’re working. Contrary to what might seem logical, you should cover up more when working out in the heat. Cover as much of your skin as possible with light-colored, lightweight material that’s loose enough that it doesn’t cling to your body. Choose a fabric that breathes, or clothes made of wicking material designed to help keep you cool. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses or other eye protection, either. Not only will this keep you from getting burned, but it will also slow down the rate at which your sweat evaporates (which is a good thing, as it will keep your body cooler than sweat that evaporates quickly.)
Build Some Shade
One thing that can make a big difference when working outside is having a little bit of shade to take a break in. In some cases, you’ll have plenty of trees or other overhangs to create shade for you. If you’re not that lucky, build a small shelter from the sun using some posts and a tarp or other material that can block the sun (making sure that you only cover the top and not the sides to allow for airflow.) If you really want to maximize the value of this cool-down spot, set up a fan that you can turn on to create a little bit of artificial airflow, if there isn’t any breeze when you stop for a break.