Friday, August 17, 2012


Summer generally arrives here around the Fourth of July, and if we are going to have a hot stretch, it is usually in mid-to-late August. Didn't happen last year, summer just kind of waved at us as it went by.

She stopped to visit this year. We have had a couple days this week where the temperature hit a hundred F. and it looks like it'll cool off to maybe 97 or 98º here today ...

We can't complain about the heat, compared to the rest of the country which has been broiling; the Mississippi River shut down, crops shriveled, dried-up lake beds crazed all over the midwest. 

For years I had a window unit AC in the garage that I'd haul out and install in my office if the stretch of heat was going to last more than three or four days. That was because above ninety or so, my computer would start to babble at me. Most years it stayed in the garage. Eventually, I gave it to my daughter, whose place gets much hotter than mine.

Most of the houses up here don't have AC installed because it's not worth it for the few days of real heat we get each year. Open the doors and windows, crank up the fans, sleep on top the covers.

However, if you plan to exercise in the out-of-doors, you need to keep a few things in mind when the thermometer is up above body temperature, else you will court heat exhaustion or worse.

1. Stay in the shade as much as possible.
2. Take frequent breaks. If you start feeling woozy or really hot, sit down and cool off. 
3. Drink a lot of water. (If you are going to be at it more than a couple of hours, you might add in something to replenish electrolytes, ala Gatorade or somesuch.)

Our most recent silat class, we were out in the yard, since our host's garage was full of appliances awaiting installation in his getting-redone-kitchen. Probably that'll get finished around, oh, Christmas. Here's a redundant term for you: Lying home contractor ...

The yard is grassy and by seven o'clock, in full shade. Still, when it is 101º F., it is easy to overdue it, and we were focused on leg work, which is ever so much fun; even on a cool day, the blood gets pumping pretty good.

Couple guys got pretty red and needed to use the garden hose. All of us got really sweaty. 
Nobody fell over, but there is always that danger, especially when it's a bunch of martial artists who don't want to be the guy who sissies out.

The tendency in such situation is to keep going: Hey, I ain't your wilting pansy here! 

This keep-going, shrug-it-off, man-up attitude can lead to man-down, so you have to know your limits. Macho can kill you: Dude worked himself into heatstroke and died. A real man, you know? Got to admire that ...

No, you don't. You shake your head at how stupid it is to die trying to show how tough you are. 

Know the signs of impending trouble: dizziness, exhaustion, nausea, cramps? Sit down and cool off–the hose, an ice pack, the upturned water bottle over the head. If you ignore the symptoms and keep going, heatstroke can follow, and if you stop sweating, a seizure or death is right there waiting. Don't be stupid. Listen to your body. 

To see a quick and unscientific measure of how much sweating goes on during a vigorous workout in these conditions? I had a two-liter bottle of club soda going, and by the end of class, had less than a cupful of it left. And I didn't need to pee. The soaked shirt and shorts were testimony to where the liquid went. And the top on the convertible was down on the way home–at nine p.m., it was still 84º F. all the way ...

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