How to Stay Cool During This Oppressive Heat
If you missed the news, there's a lot of rain in the forecast for the next week or so. While the cooler temps will be enjoyable, the heat will return even hotter with soils full of moisture. It's not the temperature that gets you, it's the humidity. The more humid it is, the harder it is for your body to cool itself, it's just simple biology and physics. Luckily, we all know at least one person that has to work out in the heat all summer long, and they have some solid tips for doing so. Here are some summertime heat pro-tips.
While this should be common knowledge, it's really not. Staying hydrated when it's really hot is the number one way to keep yourself out of harms way, but it's not as simple as "drink fluids" to stay cool. Too many people reach for sugary beverages like soda pop and sports drinks... If you're working hard, they can benefit you with some carbs to burn, but you're still better off drinking a majority of water.
Avoid Cold Water
Fun Fact: If you're hot and sweaty working outside in the summer temperatures and decide to guzzle down an ice cold bottle of water, you'll send your body into shock. It's literally called "Cold Water Shock." Your core cools off so fast in your stomach that your brain decides to send all of your blood to your abdomen to warm things back up.
Odds are you've done this before, especially when you read the symptoms... Your hands and feet start getting stiff and cramped, then your forearms and calves, then your biceps and thighs. Pretty soon, you're dog tired and feeling completely drained of all energy assuming it's just the heat doing it to you, but it was in fact the cold water. If the water is cold, sip on it or just wait until your water loses that icy edge on it sitting out in the sun.
Avoid Cold Compresses
I think it was in the 90's that these new fandangled jelly neck coolers gained total popularity across every outdoor event in the nation. You know, looks like a bandana but after sitting in the cold water at the bottom of the cooler for a bit, it swells up and is ice cold for a huge hit of refreshment in the sun... While they have a place, it's not while you're being super active. Just like with ice cold water, these can send your body into shock.
The arteries in your neck and forearms run reasonably close to your skins surface, so if you compress something that cold and your body reacts by sloughing off a bunch of heat, it can trick your body into shock.
Instead, grab a bandana or a rag, wet it down and cool yourself off the same way... just not with ice cold water. Even if it's not super cold, that water will evaporate and cool you just the same, just at a more mellow reasonable speed.
People react to the heat one of two ways. Either they lose their appetite almost completely, or that appetite grows to an insatiable level. When it's hot and those hot dogs smell really good on the grill, it's a smart bet to limit your foods if you plan on staying out in the heat. Instead of scarfing down two or three dogs, have one with some of the sides then wait a little while to see if you're still hungry. Odds are, the smaller meal will leave you satisfied and you won't get the meat sweats with your body working overtime trying to digest a pile of lips and b-holes.
One of the most effective ways to maximize your energy in the sun is to stay out of the sun. There's something about that glorious vitamin d that zaps the energy right out of you in no time, but if you manage to stay in the shade, you'll be able to enjoy more of that outdoor time feeling prime. This is why you see pictures of people from every hot climate culture in the world wearing long sleeves and wide brim hats.
You may be thinking to yourself "It's too hot to wear long sleeves..." and you'd be made fun of for saying it out loud.
If you didn't know, covering up your skin is the second best way to beat the heat aside from staying hydrated. You know why? Because the sun is hot, and if you keep it from hitting your skin, you'll be less hot too... but there is a trick to it and it has everything to do with your choice in material. Linen and cotton are the two most prolific hot weather garbs from around the world and for a good reason. They will both absorb sweat and evaporate it as the wind blows through it. If you're reaching for that skin-tight performance clothing the marketing departments of sporting goods stores sold you, it'll work to protect your skin from the sun, but won't keep you nearly as cool. The key is wearing natural fibers.
Shade: Part Two
Another thing every hot climate culture on this planet is known for is the simple, humble hat. I'm not talking about ball caps, those aren't hats. Hats have a brim all the way around the circumference of your head providing loving shade to your face, ears, neck, etc... and every guppy golfer in America can attest to the effectiveness of a cheap straw hat. That's why anglers wear their bucket hats.... why cowboys wear cowboy hats across America, Latin America, and Australia... why so many in Asia wear those triangle rice hats... and it's why you'll see heads wrapped up in cloth across the Middle East and African deserts...
A simple and effective straw hat costs under ten dollars at Walmart, you should invest in one.