10 Cool Ideas to Beat the Heat
The last five years have been the warmest in recorded history. July is typically the hottest month of the year for many parts of the United States. During every season, Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Texas are consistently among the top four of the nation’s hottest states, based on statewide average temperatures. Florida ranks overall as the warmest state year round.
10 Cool Ideas to Keep Cool:
1. Be aerobically fit to increase your ability to handle heat. A workout is like a mini-session of heat stress. The human body copes with heat by sending more blood to the surface of the skin to dissipate heat, and by sweating, which is more efficient in fit people with heat acclimation. Heather Wright, a research officer in the Flight Research Lab at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa, studies the effects of heat stress on the body. She explains, “With heat acclimation with training, your resting core temperature decreases.”
2. Replace the fluids that you lose as you perspire in order to keep cool. Dehydration causes the body temperature to rise. Alcohol, caffeine, or sugary beverages are dehydrating. Drink water.
3. Eat light, fruits and vegetables, hydrating foods, to stay cool recommends Robert Kenefick, a physiologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, in Natick, Massachusetts, which studies the effects of extreme climates on soldiers’ bodies.
4. Even eating some hot foods can cool you down. For example, chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that can make you perspire, which is the body’s natural air-conditioning system.
5. Wear athletic performance fabrics or thin, light colored, loose cotton to wick away sweat from your skin to clothing and evaporate for a cooling affect.
6. A spritz of refrigerated green tea with aloe vera gel and 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle can cool you off when you’re running hot. Begin by spritzing your wrists.
7. For a fast cool-down, plunge your arms into cold water up to the elbows, a trick often used by firefighters and overheated military personnel.
8. Escape from the heat with cool thoughts. “Reading about cold can take your mind off the thermometer, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow,” says Walter A. Brown, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the medical schools of Brown and Tufts Universities and an expert in the placebo effect. Relax with A Winter’s Tale or Doctor Zhivago.
9. When you’re feeling the effects of heat stress, regular 15-minute breaks reduce body temperature and cardiovascular strain. Try to get to a cool or shaded area and allow time for your breathing and heart rate to slow to normal.
10. Head for green pastures to chill in the shade. Plants and trees block the sun and act like living air conditioners. “When the plant takes moisture up from the soil and exhales it through the leaves, you have evaporative cooling,” explains Stan Cox, author of “Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World.”
DOC encourages you to stay cool in summer heat through healthy habits, hydration and some cool cooling ideas.
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