While I’m up playing the Lake George Opera Festival in Saratoga, I’ve managed to get a lot of exercise (always important for me, even when I’m away from home). In the last week, I’ve gotten in a couple of good (but very hot) runs, done some hiking, and had a beautiful swim to Hen & Chicken Island followed by a lovely sunset over Lake George. Coming up: biking up to Lake George. And with all this hiking, running, and biking, I need to get in some upper body work – maybe pushups and dips before tonight’s performance.
After hiking the Tongue Mountain on the 4th, I headed up to Buck Mountain later in the week. Although it was the hottest day of this current heat wave we’re having here in the Northeast, the summit of Buck was worth the sweat. I was richly rewarded for my efforts with blueberries. The summit was covered with them. They were just at perfect ripeness and hadn’t yet been picked clean by birds and animals. I ate them huge handfuls, trying to rehydrate with blueberries.
I did run into a couple of people on the trail. I came upon a woman stopped by the side of the trail. Her face was very red and she was sweating and breathing pretty hard. I stopped to talk and make sure she was OK. It was well into the 90s and humid; the danger of heat stroke or exhaustion was high. She said she was stopping there – she was too hot and tired to continue. Her 15yr old son was up ahead. She asked me to tell him not to wait for her. She would just wait there for him. She assured me she was fine and was catching her breath, so I continued up the mountain. A few minutes later I found a lanky teenager coming down the path, looking for his mother. I told him she was just waiting and had said he should go ahead and hike to the top if he wanted, that she was fine sitting in the shade.
I couldn’t help comparing these people with the family I wrote about
who had to be rescued off of Tongue Mountain a few days before. Here, the mother recognized that on this day, this trail was too much for her. She did the prudent thing and sat down to wait. And her son, up ahead, had turned around to find out where his mother was. Yea mom! Yea son! And when he knew she was OK, Josh continued his hike, meeting up with his mother on the way down.
My only complaint about them was that they didn’t have enough water with them. They each had just one small bottle, not nearly enough on such a sweltering day. I insisted that Josh take some of my water. I refilled his tiny bottle from mine. I was carrying a large and small bottle with me, and had 2 more bottles waiting for me in my car. Plus, I had an orange – and all the blueberries I could eat!
Staying hydrated is important anytime, but it’s essential when it’s hot. Getting overheated and dehydrated is dangerous. You can’t wait until you’re thirsty. Thirst doesn’t kick in until your body is already a liter or two low. Staying hydrated helps regulate your core temperature. It also helps your muscles work better, including your most important muscle: your heart.
Drink plenty of water before you exercise, and carry plenty of it with you while you exercise. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible. If it’s really hot, adjust your pace accordingly. Slow up. If your heart starts racing or you just can’t catch your breath, stop and rest, get somewhere cool if you can, and drink water!
And this is not just good advice during a heat wave. If you are currently in chemotherapy, staying hydrated is just as important. It’s good to get out and get some exercise, just make sure to work a little harder at staying hydrated.