Jul30

Ten Surprising Ways to Chill Out in the Heat

We all know the basics to keeping cool as the temps go up: stay well hydrated; wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing; exercise early or late in the day; take frequent short, cool showers; etc. Here are some lesser-known ways to keep from sweating lava streams of sweat when the outside feels like the inside of a volcano.

1. Graze, don’t dine. Eating large meals can raise your body’s temperature up to 2 degrees. Take advantage of your body’s natural system of staying cool by not taxing your metabolic system with digesting large quantities of food.

2. Eat spicy, get cool. There’s a reason countries in the tropics often feature spicy food. The heat in the food makes you sweat, and the resulting evaporation causes your body to cool down. Plus, if you’re not used to spicy food, you’ll most likely eat less, leading to the benefits in the first tip.

3. Freeze your sheets. Throw your sheets in a bag in the freezer for an hour before going to bed to help get your bed’s temperature, and thus your body temp, lowered for a good night’s sleep. For a little extra temperature regulation, try the high-tech bedding brand SHEEX, which provides excellent airflow and wicking. If stripping the sheets is too much effort at the end of a hot day, pre-cool your bed by filling a hot water bottle with ice water and tucking it into your bed. Or keep a long sock filled with rice in your freezer to put between the sheets before sleep.

4. Create your own shade. Use an umbrella when you need to walk outside. Unlike a hat, it allows airflow around your head, the place you lose the most heat, and creates a barrier from the direct heat of the sun.

5. Put ice on your pulse points. You can feel your heartbeat at your wrist, ankles, neck, and behind your knees because your blood flows near the surface of the skin at those points. Cool those spots and your pulse can deliver the lowered temperature to other parts of your body.

6. Lose heat through your feet. Open shoes like sandals allow foot sweat to evaporate, making you feel cooler. Rubbing aloe vera or peppermint oil on the soles of your feet can help make you feel refreshed from the ground up.

7.  Spritz yourself. Keep a spray bottle in the fridge filled with water, peppermint tea, or this popular combo: 3 tablespoons of organic aloe vera gel, 3 tablespoons of witch hazel, 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil, and water. Spritz yourself periodically to get the cooling benefits of evaporation of your skin — like sweating without the sweat. The menthol of the peppermint gives an extra chill blast — just be careful around the eyes with it. Try a handy misting fan to add a breeze to this powerful cooling equation.

8. Wear textured fabrics. What do seersucker, madras, hopsack, oxford cloth, and linen all have in common? They are fabrics with texture, which helps keep fabric away from the skin, allowing little air channels to form between you and your clothing and heat to escape. Keeping cool can still be stylish with these fabrics.

9. Choose the right hat. Do hats help keep you cool? Answer: It depends. Hats provide a barrier to direct sun rays, which transmit a significant amount of extra heat. So from that standpoint, yes, hats help deflect heat. But your head is one of the best places on your body to lose heat, so if the hat doesn’t have good ventilation, like classic woven straw hats, you might be trapping extra heat close to your body after the initial cushion of cool between hat and head as you leave air conditioned bliss.

10. Cover up. It may seem counterintuitive to wear long sleeves and pants when it heats up, but lightweight, loose clothing in breathable natural fibers, like those worn in many desert or tropical countries, can help shade your skin from the direct heat of the sun and ultimately keep you cooler.

Sandra Gordon

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