Summer Tips for a Healthy Heart

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

It is officially summer and time for vacations, summer camp, and being outdoors more than any other season. After being cooped up inside all winter it is easy to get into the swing of things and look for some reason to be outside enjoying glorious summer sunshine! However, it is vital that in between busy recreational activities to make sure to keep in mind your heart and brain health. According to the American Heart Association (AHA) heart disease and stroke remain the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in the U.S., yet a majority of these diseases are preventable with simple lifestyle modifications, such as healthy eating and regular exercise. Remember, with warmer weather comes a greater risk of dehydration, sunburn and exhaustion so make sure to take precautions!”

The American Heart Association offers top 10 tips for a heart-healthy summer:

  1. Learn Hands-Only CPR, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time by a pool, ocean or lake. To view a short video about Hands only CPR visit
  2. Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, especially water throughout the day and before, during and after working out to maintain salt-water balance. Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
  3. Exercise smarter and not harder by planning workouts for the cooler parts of the day – either early morning or early evening when the sun’s radiation is at its least. If you must exercise during the hottest part of the day or in high humidity, decrease exercise intensity and duration. And remember, you can get a great workout indoors by going to a gym or walking at the mall.
  4. Dress minimally, wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing that allows quick evaporation of sweat with breathable fabrics.
  5. Take advantage of fresh seasonal veggies. Load up skewers with mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash or other veggies.
  6. Pack and play for when you are taking the family on a road trip. Design physical activity by bringing equipment such as a soccer ball, frisbee or paddle ball to have mini family sporting events.
  7. Homemade snacks such as fruit pops made with low sugar juices or mashed up fruit like peaches, grapes, berries or watermelon and put into paper cups, insert a popsicle stick and freeze overnight. These are much healthier than store bought, heavily sweetened frozen treats.
  8. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear wide-brimmed hats, always apply water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
  9. Head indoors when the heat gets unbearable. Try indoor activities at your local YMCA or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.
  10. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion – headaches, heavy sweating, cold, moist skin, chill, dizziness or fainting, a weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, fast, shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting or both. If you experience these symptoms, move to a cooler place, stop exercising and cool down immediately by dousing yourself with cold water and rehydrating.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke: warm, dry skin with no sweating, strong and rapid pulse, confusion and/or unconsciousness, high fever, throbbing headaches, nausea, vomiting or both. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. For more tips on staying active and healthy this summer, visit

Wishing all of our Montauk Sun readers a happy, safe and healthy summer ahead!