It’s hot, people — suck down a Slurpee, lay around in your underpants, heat a breakfast taco on the sidewalk hot.
As athletes, that means we need to ratchet back our outdoor workouts, drink lots of fluid, seek out shade and do whatever we can to stay cool.
To help you do just that, we’ve scoped out some products designed to chill you out.
In the meantime, don’t forget to hydrate at least 30 minutes before exercise, wear moisture-wicking clothing, slather on the sunscreen and take a flying leap into Barton Springs as often as possible. And remember: Cramps, dizziness, headaches, nausea and thirst are all signs of heat illness.
1. Way2Cool shirt
Think of it as your own portable swamp cooler. Mountain Hardwear makes a running shirt with what they call sweat-activated cooling technology. You sweat, it wets the wicking, mesh-knit shirt, which provides a ongoing cooling sensation. Bonus: Reflective trim, seams that don’t chafe and odor-controlling antimicrobial finish.
Details: About $65 at Luke’s Locker.
2. Endura Cool instant cooling towel
Dunk this mesh towel in water, where it looks like any old soggy swath of cloth. But wring it out, snap it to activate, then drape it around your neck and you’ll take a quick mental trip to a polar ice cap. It’s from Mission Athletecare, which also makes cooling skull caps and arm sleeves. They say the chill lasts for up to two hours, but that might be pushing it in the ferocity of an Austin summer. Reusable and machine washable.
Details: An extra large towel (about the size of a typical scarf) costs $19.99; a smaller version is $14.99. Available at Academy Sports + Outdoors or www.missionathletecare.com.
3. CEP Arm Coolers
Here in Austin, where exercising outdoors can feel like playing in a giant microwave oven, the sun is the enemy. These non-compression sleeves protect your arms from harmful rays. Better yet, the wicking fabric reacts with sweat or water to lower skin temperatures a few degrees. And that means you won’t feel fatigue quite so quickly.
Details: About $30 for a pack of two at Texas Running Company.
4. Coldfront kit
Stick the sunglasses-case sized case in the freezer overnight and take it with you when you head out for your morning track workout. When you really start heating up, pull out the palm-sized gel packs and hold them in your hands, against your forehead or on your neck. The chill only lasts 10 or 15 minutes before you’ve got what feels like a couple of pouches of warm pudding in your hand, but pop them back in the kit and they’ll chill back down in the time it takes to log a few more loops around the track.
Details: About $80 at www.mycoldfront.com.
5. PowerSox Advanced Dry sock
Sweat creates moisture and moisture causes blisters, so heavy sweaters need high-tech socks when the heat cranks up. These lightweight footies from Gold Toe feature cushioned heel and toe strike pads, plus ventilated panels in between to boost moisture evaporation. Can you say ahhhhh?
Details: About $11 for two pair at www.powersox.com.
6. Cool Point
We love this Austin-born product, which comes about as close as you can get in Austin to holding a snowball in your hand while you run. The soft, adjustable strap holds a small, freezable gel pack in your palm. It helps your hands work like a radiator, cooling warm blood at the surface of the palm before it is delivered back to your body’s core. And that, product developers say, lets you work out longer, tolerate a heavier workload and recover more easily. The gel stays cool long enough for most folks to get through a 5K.
Details: About $20 at running stores including Jack & Adams.
When it comes to exercising, sweating is how your body keeps you cool, and it’s a good thing. But if it seems like someone’s turned a faucet on in your armpit even when you’re not working out, dab one of these antiperspirant-soaked towelettes under your arm once a week. It smells pleasantly clove-like, and since you don’t apply it every day, it limits the body’s exposure to the antiperspirant ingredients.
Details: About $16 to $20 for a box of eight at Walmart or www.sweatblock.com.
8. Hyper Vest Cool
The summer inferno of 2011 drove me to desperation. I cinched myself into a blue lace-up vest filled with frozen gel packs to avoid spontaneous combustion while riding my bike to and from work. The Hyper Vest Cool worked — sort of. But the slightly dorky-looking vest, made of wicking material with pockets that hold sheets of articulated, credit card-sized pouches filled with a special gel, didn’t keep me quite as cool as I’d have liked. The cooling effect was mostly isolated to my trunk. Makers say the vest works best when it’s worn directly against the skin, but that’s not really an option for women.
Details: The Hyper Vest Cool sells for $199.99, gel packs included, at www.hyperwear.com. A version with gel packs that don’t stay cold as long costs $139.99.