Surviving Summer

ASK THE EXPERT – As seen in the Surprise Independent, June 3, 2015

“Summertime and the living is easy,” goes George Gershwin’s classic song from the opera Porgy and Bess. However, if we aren’t careful, summertime in the Arizona desert can be uneasy, unforgiving and downright unbearable.

Here are a few tips to help you beat the heat.

Drink Up
Our bodies need fluids every day to function properly. Drinking liquid is the most important thing you can do to keep functioning, and that means not waiting until you actually feel thirsty to wet your whistle. Our ability to feel thirsty diminishes as we age, which makes it all the more important to hydrate. Water is still the best way to hydrate, so make it your “go to” liquid. Fat-free or low-fat milk and drinks without added sugar are options too. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation.

Stay In
When the sun is beating down, it’s best to stay indoors in air-conditioned comfort to avoid overheating and sunburn. Sleep with the AC on to increase comfort and to get a better night’s sleep. If your residence does not have air conditioning, go to a place that does such as a movie theater, the library, the mall or a recreation center.

Dress for Success
If you’re revolving between summer heat and cool AC all day, consider layering your clothes so that you can adapt to the extremes. If you’re outside, wear lightweight clothing made from breathable, natural fabrics like cotton. The National Council of Skin Cancer Prevention reminds us to “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” when you’re outdoors. Slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat and wrap on sunglasses.

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Seek the Shade
Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are usually strongest. Seek shade under a pavilion roof or leafy tree or carry a sun umbrella. Plan your outdoor activities for the early morning, late afternoon or evening.

Put these tips into practice during the sizzling summertime and I think you’ll find that the “living is easy” or at least “easier. “

Headshot - Rhonda Zonoozi - Sun Health Center For Health & WellnessRhonda Zonoozi is an exercise physiologist and certified health & wellness coach at the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, Arizona. For information about the Center call 623-832-WELL (9355) or go to

Information provided in the section is from a multidisciplinary team of Sun Health professionals at the Center for Health and Wellbeing, based in Surprise, Arizona. However, it should not be a substitute for medical advice from your physician. To submit a question for consideration, email

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