Summer may be almost over in much of the world, but Mother Nature still has a few hot days left in store for us. Until the cool weather of the “-Ber” months sets in for good, we can expect to have a few more days of running the fans and air conditioning. We need to stay well hydrated throughout the day if we want to keep cool. But there are lots of other tricks you can use to beat the last of summer’s heat. The best thing about them is that they’re free and simple to put into practice.
6 Common-Sense Ways to Beat the Summer Heat
- Wear Loose, Light-Coloured Clothing
Tight clothes trap your body heat against you, so choose loose-fitting clothing when it’s hot outside. If possible, choose light-coloured fabrics that will reflect the sun’s light. And stick with loosely woven, natural fibers that will breathe and allow your sweat to evaporate. Remember that lighter fabrics and clothes that cover less of your skin offer less protection against the ultraviolet rays that cause sunburns and skin cancer. So if you’re spending time outside, remember to cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and to apply sunscreen throughout the day.
- Keep the Curtains Closed Against the Heat
When it’s hotter outside than it is inside, keep your blinds and curtains closed during the daytime – especially when the sun is shining directly into a room. Heavy blackout blinds help to insulate your house in both summer and winter, making them a great choice for pretty much every room in the house. Open them at night to let in the cooler air, if the temperature in your region drops significantly at night.
- Restrict Daytime Activity
During the worst heat of the day, try not to be too active. Avoid heavy physical activity and take plenty of breaks to rest and rehydrate. Do your chores and running around early in the day if you can, or use errands as an excuse to enjoy the air conditioning at the mall.
- Avoid Using Heat-Generating Appliances
Try to run appliances such as dishwashers and clothes dryers early in the morning or after the sun goes down. Better still, wash the dishes by hand and hang the clothes out to dry. Take advantage of all that heat and sun to do your work for you. After all, it’s free!
- Don’t Make Your Drinks Too Cold
An ice-cold drink can really feel great when it’s hot outside. But the effect is short-lived. Your body actually expends energy warming up a really cold drink so you can absorb it properly. And an ice-cold drink actually suppresses sweating, which can make you feel warmer if you’re in a fairly dry environment.
- Eat Warm, Heavy Meals After Dark
Eat hot foods after dark, wen the temperature outside is dropping. Small meals and snacks eaten throughout the heat of the day often go down better when it’s really hot outside. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with a high water content, like melons and cucumbers. Replace hot meals with cold plates of deli meat and salad, hummus and fresh vegetables, or yogurt and fruit. If you really want a hot meal, try making it in a crockpot or on the barbecue to reduce the amount of heat produced during cooking. Try soup too, as hot liquids help to cool your body down as long as your sweat can evaporate well.
Turning on the air conditioning may be your first thought when the mercury rises, but there are lots of simple and free ways to cool off on a hot day. Using one or more of these commonsense heat-beating strategies can help you cope on hot days without resorting to more expensive cooling options. They can also boost the effect of your air conditioning or fans, so you’ll burn through a little less energy and money trying to handle the heat.