Yesterday, I got all huffy when the hotel concierge said: “Madam, are you sure you want to do that? It is, oh, a 25- or 30-minute walk from here, maybe longer. And that is only part of the way.”
Later, I relayed the exchange to my husband, grousing that the 20-something young man obviously thought I was either too old or out of shape to make the scenic trek. Hubby looked at me and replied, “Honey, he was thinking about the heat.”
Is Your Hot My Hot?
“Hot” can be fairly relative, though some temperatures allow little argument. The 105 degrees F (40 C) baking my hometown for the last few weeks is hot. Thankfully, it’s been short-lived and relieved with a few showers. I vividly remember the year (2011) that Austin sizzled under a malevolent heat wave and drought, resulting in 90 days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees F. Ouch! However, I acclimated and continued to work out — though I made many smart concessions for health and safety.
Israel is suffering under its third heat wave of the year. Here in Tel Aviv, the average August temperature is a balmy 26 degrees C (79 F); on the day I talked to the concierge, the high hit 35 degrees C (95 F). “None of the Israelis I work with are walking, much less running, anywhere in this,” my husband explained.
Today, as I covered the Tayelet, Tel Aviv’s wonderfully designed public promenade that hugs the Mediterranean coast, I understood the young man’s hesitancy to send me off without further question. As I discovered, he had good reason for concern.
There is no shade along the approximately 5K (3.1 miles) concrete, point-to-point pathway, though covered rest areas, water fountains, showers, and other public facilities are located just steps away at the various beaches.
Because I was in tourist mode, I walked more than ran, stopping often to take photos. I strayed from the path, loitering at interesting spots, going out of my way to read restaurant menus and historical markers. I even wound up wandering around Old Jaffa, the far end of my journey, when I hadn’t really planned to — it was just so charming. All of these combined to extend my time out in the sun to more than two hours.
Being a trail runner and used to hot weather, I could no more go out on a run without a handheld water bottle than breathe underwater. I refilled my 20-ounce bottle once on my 6-plus miles roundtrip. I could see how someone unused to the intense sun and high temperature, without water or familiarity with the surroundings, might wind up with heat issues. Especially, let’s face it, an older person.
5 Actions Help Avoid Heat Illness
If you are going to be out and about in hot weather like I was, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the following to prevent problems related to overheating:
- Limit outdoor activities to cooler times (morning and evening).
- Cut down on the amount of exercise done in the heat.
- Drink two to four glasses of cool water (or other non-alcoholic beverage) every hour.
- Rest in shaded areas often.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher).
On our way back from Tel Aviv, we’ll spend some time in the London area visiting friends. The temperature there is holding fairly consistently with August’s average high, around 19 degrees C.
One doesn’t even really need to convert to Fahrenheit to know that, comparatively, it’s quite a bit cooler in the U.K.
I’m hoping that temperatures at home lie somewhere between these two. (Hey, a girl can dream.)
For more information about the beautiful Tayelet, Tel Aviv’s Shlomo Lahat Promenade, take a look at “Tel Aviv Central Beach Promenade”