Monday, May 14, 2012

Heat & Sun Awareness

Cool options for your summer workouts. Mission Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel has an UPF of 45.
May 25th is National Heat Stress Awareness Day. Every year people die unnecessarily from heat and sun stroke because they A) Didn't take the time to check and prepare for high heat conditions and B) Didn't recognize the warning signs of heat stress. Do you know the signs of heat exhaustion and what to do about them?  Here they are:

The Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
Enter our Insulated Polar Bottle Giveaway!

Malaise, headache, weakness & loss of appetite
Dizziness upon standing up from sitting or reclining
Elevated core temperature

What to do - Treatment:

Stop all exertion & move victim to shade or cooler area
Remove restrictive clothing
Give oral re-hydration solution with plenty of pure water
Apply insulated ice packs or cold towels to the patient’s armpits and groin area. Use cool water to splash or soak until cooled off

So What's New for 2012?

This year the old SPF / UPF ratings that used to go up to 100+ have been done away with.  The most any sun protection product can now claim is 50. This is because the previous values were a bit misleading making people think that a SPF of let's say 90+ was much more effective than a 30.  Really there is not that much difference between the two. I like Mission Athletecare's Continuous Spray Sun Defeated Sunscreen - UPF 30 and their moisturizing gel Lip Protector in 20.

There is sun protection being built into athletic wear too.  Safety Smartwear's and Road ID / Giordana's cycling kits have excellent solar protection within the fabric itself. These company's cycling jerseys and bib shorts offer a SPF of between 30-50+.  These newer technical materials also allow for maximum airflow and wicking to help keep you cooler and dryer. (See more: Cycling Jerseys: Buying & Care Guide)

Heat Index Monitoring
Also new for the 2012 summer season is the Kestrel Heat Stress Tracker. Building on the Kestrel line of pocket weather meters, the newest addition 4400 model adds Heat Stress tracking parameters.  This means you can calculate the potential for heat exhaustion throughout the day and in your immediate area. You can then better assess when to pull the plug on an outdoor excursion or take extra precautions during an athletic event. If adverse high temperature conditions are present, the Kestrel 4400 will alert you to them so you can avoid heat stroke.

We plan to test the Kestrel 4400 in the field at the upcoming Outdoor Adventure Expo at Turkey Swamp this month in the NY/NJ area so stay tuned.
NEW for 2012!  Kestrel 4400 Heat Stress Tracker

Another new item we are excited about is the Mission Athletecare Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel.  It has special polymers that chill when the towel is wet and snapped.  The towel itself has a respectable UPF of 45 and is small enough to fit in any bike or gym bag for multiple uses.  Sweat or pure water is said to activate the towel which I actually found to feel cool even when dry.

As shown in the treatment options for heat exhaustion, you can place the towel under the armpits or groin area to quickly bring down the core temperature. Pack an insulated Polar Bottle half full of ice and your water will be chilly for hours.  If you are out running or on your bicycle, you can simply wet the towel with water from the ice filled Polar Bottle and quickly cool down.

The Enduracool Instant Cooling Towel

I also found a little portable battery operated fan with a carabiner clip.  I placed this on my daypack as it is lightweight and can be used when you need to stop and cool off a bit.
Add a little breeze to a wet, cooling towel and you have a synergistic mix to help beat heat stress.

Remember to know your conditions by checking out the day's heat index before heading out.  Generally the hours between 1 and 3 pm are the hottest. The sun's rays are less intense before 10 am so if you can plan your workout before midday or after 4 pm, you'll avoid unnecessary exposure. (See the Cool Runnings post for ideas on reflective clothing and lights for after dark runs and rides).
Pack extra ice water in thermal containers like a Polar Bottle or Klean Kanteen. Want to stay hydrated without taking along gallons of water? Pack a Purificup Portable Water Filter for fresh, pure water on the fly.

Remember to Protect Your Eyes

Do wear a hat and proper UV protective eye wear.  Rudy Project makes a complete line of excellent sunglasses for practically every outdoor activity imaginable.  Their sports glasses are cycling, running, etc. specific and are lightweight while staying put and not fogging up during your workout. The Ability in Raspberry below is made for smaller women's faces and has interchangeable multi-laser red lenses which offer a 21% light transmission. The wrap-around feature keeps wind and road debris out of your eyes while offering the most UV protection possible. Weighing in at only 25 grams, you'll hardly notice wearing them but you will notice a clearer, glare-free view of the road.
Rudy Project Kylix XY Sport Frames
Rudy Project Ability

Giordana for Road ID Bib Shorts have a UPF of 50+

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