As a craftsman, you take pride in braving the summer heat. While other people are crowding around ACs in their cozy offices, you’re out on the job site breaking a sweat. There’s something immensely satisfying about pouring your energy into a project and seeing the results at the end of the long workday.
Just like the strongest steels are forged in the hottest fires, the best craftsmen are shaped in the blistering summer days. With this heat, however, comes an increased risk of dehydration. To maintain your alertness and productivity, here are some tips for staying hydrated while working construction in the summer heat.
Drink PLENTY of water.
Okay, this one might seem painfully obvious. Craftsmen know drinking water is the most effective way to stay hydrated on the job site, but how much is enough? Well, OSHA recommends workers drink about eight ounces of water every 20 minutes. That’s about two or three large swigs. If your project lasts for more than a few hours, it’s a good idea to drink something rich in electrolytes like a sports drink. While drinking throughout your workday is critical, you’ll also want to load up on that H2O before and after your shift. In addition to keeping you hydrated, water is also an effective way to stay cool in the summer.
Don’t overdo the caffeine.
There’s nothing quite like a steaming cup of coffee to kickstart the day. While caffeine has some definite advantages on the job site, you won’t want to go overboard during the summer months. Coffee, along with soda and other caffeinated beverages, is a diuretic which essentially means it makes you pee more frequently. Drinking too much caffeine can speed up the process of dehydration by pushing too much fluid out of your body. You don’t have to cut these drinks out altogether. Just make sure you’re enjoying them in moderation.
Wear breathable clothing.
When working construction, you don’t have the luxury of showing up in shorts and a t-shirt. The risks and demands of the job require thicker, heavier, and more durable clothes for extra protection. While your options are somewhat limited, there are some wardrobe adjustments you can make to decrease your chances of dehydration. Lighter colors such as khaki or white are better at reflecting sunrays than darker shades. You also want to make sure your clothes are breathable and loose-fitting. The goal is to keep your internal body temperature cool as it reduces the amount of liquid that gets released from your body.
Protect yourself from the sun.
While water is the most reliable source of hydration, the sun is the biggest cause of dehydration. When on the job site, you’ll want to take some protective measures to offset the dehydrating effects of the sun. Stay in the shade as much as possible or at least during your breaks to keep your body temperature down. Believe it or not, sunscreen can actually help too since sunburn contributes to dehydration. Hats with large brims and scarves that cover your neck are always a good idea too.
Eat the right foods.
When it comes to staving off dehydration, liquids are your most effective tool. But that doesn’t mean what you’re eating can’t have a positive impact too. Vegetables, fruits, and other food high in water content are perfect for ensuring your body has the H2O it needs to operate at full capacity. When you’re sweating buckets in the sun, you’re also losing electrolytes which are important for muscular and neurological functioning. You can replenish your body’s supply of these vital minerals by eating fruits, vegetables, and even meat. Yes, that fat, juicy steak is healthy after all!
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