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Feeling a little sluggish this time of year? This could be why.

06/16/22

With kids going to camps, grandkids coming to visit, road trips and vacations… We may all have dreamed of warmer days, of fun times at the beach or by the pool, but in reality, summer can often be downright exhausting.

If you blame the heat for your unusual lack of energy, you’re not wrong! There are several reasons you may be feeling drained this time of year.

 

Your body is acclimating to the heat.

Heat acclimation plays a large role when it comes to how well our bodies handle heat. It can take several weeks to become fully adapted to the heat, particularly when it comes to our body’s physiology. One of the key adaptation responses to heat is that our bodies learn to sweat better and more efficiently as a means of cooling us down.

The hot summer months take sweating up a notch. When we’ve not fully adapted to the heat, our body temperature can become excessively high, making us feel unusually fatigued and drained. Not to mention, there’s a greater chance of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

 

Your metabolism has slowed down.

It may sound strange, but during the warmer summer months your metabolism actually runs slower than it does when it’s cold! When we’re cold, our metabolism must work overtime to help keep our body temperature elevated. The opposite occurs in the heat. Because our body temperature is already high enough, our metabolisms will slow down as a means of ensuring we don’t overheat, and as your metabolic rate slows, it can oftentimes make you feel tired, sleepy, and lethargic.

 

You’re burning more calories when exercising.

Exercising or performing physical activity in the heat burns more calories than in other climate conditions. In short, our bodies get tired faster in the heat. Because of this, you’ll need to put in more effort to keep up with your workout. This increased caloric expenditure can cause more fatigue than normal. It oftentimes promotes feelings of fatigue and exhaustion after exercise or physical activity that can last for hours and sometimes days, depending on the intensity.

*** If you notice any signs of extreme exhaustion or feel faint while working out outdoors, stop immediately! Find a cool place to rest, get hydrated, and call a doctor if needed.

 

You’re dehydrated.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that dehydration leads to exhaustion. Remember how we discussed sweating earlier? Due to the body sweating more to keep you cool in the summer, it loses water faster than usual, making it especially important that you stay hydrated and replenish your fluids constantly. Even mild dehydration can make you feel drowsy! Be sure to drink lots of water, fresh smoothies, or juices that will keep you feeling refreshed and energized.

 

Summer heat can drain your mental health.

Juggling the pressures of a typical workload plus an explosion of social commitments and activities during the summer leaves many of us exhausted, over-stretched and burnt out.

A recent study led by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health suggests extremely hot days may take a real toll on our mental health. The study found that the number of patients seeking mental health support at emergency departments in the United States went up during periods of intense heat, and summer days with higher-than-normal temperatures were also shown to result in increased suicide attempts, acts of violence, increased irritable and angry mood.

***Remember: Your doctor is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health!

 

Beat the heat.

As we continue to celebrate the warm weather of summer, don’t miss out due to sluggishness and fatigue. Make the most of your summer by increasing your energy levels with these tips.

  • Follow a proper sleep routine
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Stick to a well-balanced diet / Avoid heavy meals
  • Get regular exercise
  • If you start to feel like the heat is too much, take a break!
  • Limit sun exposure
  • When outside, wear light, loose clothing
  • Take the time to completely unwind and relax

 

(Information in this blog provided by Mayo Clinic and Boston University.)