How do you stay cool in the summer heat with MS?
As many of you will know, high temperatures can play a big role in symptom flare ups, physical weakness and generally feeling a bit rubbish. With the heat wave we're experiencing in the UK at the moment, Uhtoff's syndrome can really affect people with MS in a negative way.
I asked the members of my Facebook group how they deal with the heat. Here's what they said:
"I’m having to sit in front of a large fan with freezer blocks wrapped in a tea towel to hold or sit back on"
"I am waiting for a cooling vest right now... kiddie pools are awesome if you have kids (fun for you and them) ... tons of water.. I carry ice packs and put on the back of my neck and wrists... wet towels... and my favorite right now is staying in the A.C. lol... haven't left my house other than to take my dog out the past 3 days LOL"
"Cooling towels are big helps for me. Pools are great too. Also, I will hide in the A/C if needed."
"Windows wide open & curtains closed - move round the house to follow the sun!"
"Cooling towel helps. Bottle of water-frozen -does too."
"Yes, my MS has fought back at me overnight . I am doing all the above + fan in bedroom. Read today about putting feet in bowl of water. Will try that."
"Wearing sleeveless tops and shorts, while trying not to be self conscious about my bingo wings and big bum!!"
"Drinking lots of cool water to stay hydrated. Finding places with air conditioning or wearing a cooling scarf. Dont do anything outside during the hottest hours of the day."
Lots of shouts from the group for things like cooling towels and cooling vests/scarfs. You can buy various version of these for relatively cheap on amazon, so if you haven't done that, it's a good idea.
In terms of exercise - because that's what I always bang on about, here are my tips for keeping cool:
- Focus on resistance exercises over high heart rate activities like cardio/HIIT
- Extend your rest periods between sets to allow your body to cool down
- Exercise early doors or late at night when the temperature has dropped slightly
- Try air-conditioned environments like gyms
- Swimming in cool water is a great way to do cardio without overheating
- Take a bottle of iced water and a wet towel with you to mop your brow
- Cooling vests/scarfs etc as mentioned above
So try and keep your training up, but tweak your programme so you don't burn up like a flaming phoenix.
-And if you're interested in more MS insights and advice, we have a great group of people in the MS Fitness Insights group on Facebook where we motivate, educate, challenge and hang out. If you're not part of it, what are you waiting for?
Or if you're too cool for Facebook, follow me on Instagram for daily tips, motivational posts and loads of other things that'll help you live a full life with MS.