Summer heat is no joke, primarily when the heat and humidity are working in conjunction to keep you hot and uncomfortable. You don’t have to go down without a fight, however, and there are several ways you can keep your cool, whether you have access to air conditioning or not.

(1) Water is your friend
This is low hanging fruit, but it can’t be emphasized enough: in warm weather (in ANY weather), water is your friend! Drink about eight 8-oz glasses throughout the day. Staying hydrated when it’s hot is the best way to keep your core temperature within a healthy range. Your body cools itself by sweating, and evaporation of the sweat cools your skin which helps cool your body. Remember, however, if you’re sweating a lot more than usual, you’re going to need more water than usual – so drink when you’re thirsty, in addition to those eight glasses a day.

(2) Optimize your fans
Fans help circulate air through your house and lower temperature with a wind chill. Moving air helps with humidity by replacing hot, humid air with cooler, drier air – and this, in turn, allows for moisture evaporation. Place fans strategically throughout your home to move air around. Turn window fans to face outward so you can exhaust the hot inside air to the outside. And remember to set your ceiling fans on a counter-clockwise motion to push cool air downward.

(3) Hang out with cool food
It goes without saying that leaving the oven off when it’s hot will reduce the room temperature. But there are also certain foods that actually help you keep your cool during warm summer months by clearing heat and toxins from the body (and adding a little hydration to boot). These include:

· Cucumbers
· Melons
· Dark green leafy vegetables
· Coconut water
· Lemon
· Mint
· Bananas
· Berries
· Apples
· Peaches
· Pineapple

(4) Exercise your right to cool down
Working out may seem more arduous when it’s hot, but you can still get the benefits of regular exercise during warm weather with a few adjustments. First of all, hydration is especially important when you’re exercising in summer. You sweat more, so you need to drink more. Also, you can decrease your intensity level by a quarter to a third your usual effort. The heat and humidity are already increasing your heart rate, so don’t overdo it with a full-on workout. Dress in light, airy clothing that dries quickly when you sweat. Avoid the midday hours if you’re outside. And perhaps acclimate afterwards by taking a nice cool (not cold) shower.

(5) Transfer heat with sauna
Believe it or not, the sauna can be your friend in warm weather when appropriately used. If you gradually expose yourself to sauna heat on ten consecutive days, you improve your ability to tolerate heat. When you do this, your body goes through some adaptive changes which make it more efficient at transferring heat from the core out through the skin. So, treat yourself to some sauna – especially after exercise when it can also help with the mild aches of worked-out muscles.

(6) Cool points on your body
If you find yourself overheated and need a quick cool-down, an excellent way to chill out fast is by applying something cold (like cold water, an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas) to pulse points on your body. These include your inside wrists and elbows, groin area, ankles, and behind the knees.

(7) Chill while you sleep
Since heat rises, it’s a good idea to keep as low as possible when you’re lying down for the night. Keeping things dark helps with cooling things down, and some people employ the ‘Egyptian method’ of sleeping by dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and using it as a blanket (and it’s probably a good idea to put a dry towel on the bottom to keep your mattress dry). There are also pillows (or ‘chillows’) that claim to help keep you comfortable with a top layer of cooling gel.

A qualified health coach can help you learn more about keeping your cool during the hot summer months and keeping healthy inside and out year ‘round.

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