How To Stay Cool Outside In The Heat - 12 Tried & Tested Tips
Posted by Luke Green
For a lot of people out there, watersports and outdoor activities are reserved for the Summer months, when the weather is warm and the days are long. There is a sweet spot when it comes to temperature, however, and people get too hot, we can start to become lethargic and fatigued. While the team at Red Original love getting out all year round, even we have to admit that it’s a shame to let good weather go to waste and that’s why we’re going to help you learn how to stay cool in the heat with these 12 tried and tested tips.
Drink Water & Plenty Of It
Let’s start with the most basic point: drinking water. The human body has a surprisingly small operating temperature range of between 36.5°C – 37.5°C and when it’s hot, your body sweats in an attempt to cool itself down. Sweating uses up the water stored in the body and sweating over long periods can cause you to become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include but are not limited to nausea, dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, and a number of other symptoms that most people would simply rather not experience.
Fortunately, these symptoms can be alleviated, if not avoided, simply by drinking water. It’s important to be aware, however, that while you might want to go for the coldest water possible, it might not be the best idea. Drinking very cold water when you’re hot can upset the body in various ways, resulting in chest pains and abdominal cramps. Think about when you eat ice cream and get brain freeze, it’s like that but worse, longer-lasting and without the enjoyment of ice cream.
If you know it’s going to be hot out, it’s recommended that you drink at least a litre of water before you head out to ensure the body’s water supplies are replenished. Of course, you’ll want to top up throughout the day and there is nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy some cold water, but we wouldn’t suggest drinking anything much cooler 15°C. Taking water out with you is always a good idea but to avoid having to drink warm water, we’d recommend carrying it in an insulated water bottle, rather than a plastic one.
If you’re going to be out all day and are worried about staying cool in the heat, you can help your body replace the salts and minerals it loses through sweat with electrolyte drinks. Lucozade and Gatorade are popular options, but coconut water works just as well, as does water with lemon juice and green vegetable smoothies.
Allow Your Skin To Breath
Sweating is the bodies’ way of regulating its own temperature, but there are a number of things you can do to help it out. A big one for paddle boarders, kayakers, sailors, and other watersport enthusiasts is to wear moisture-wicking clothes, as these will draw sweat away from the body to help keep it cool. You see, sweating helps to regulate body temperature in two stages, firstly by making the skin wet and then by drawing heat away as it evaporates.
Clothes that don’t have moisture-wicking properties will trap sweat, preventing it from evaporating and cooling the wearer down. On the other hand, clothes made from moisture-wicking materials draw sweat away from the skin and allow it to evaporate, cooling the wearer down while making them more comfortable.
Protect Yourself From The Sun
You might think that the best way to allow your skin to breath is by wearing fewer clothes, but the downside of this is that you increase your risk of sunburn. When people think of sunburn, images of lobster-red skin are often the first thing that spring to mind. Sunburn can cause more than just reddened skin though, as it may also cause skin to swell and blister while leaving you feeling feverish, nauseous, headachy, and drained. What’s more, if you’re trying to keep cool, then sunburn is the last thing you want, as your skin will feel like it’s doing nothing but generating heat for days.
Applying sunscreen with a high UPF factor is a great way to protect yourself from the sun, but swimming and sweating will make it wear off a lot more quickly. Wearing clothes that not only draw moisture away from the skin but offer high UPF protection is an effective means of staying cool in the heat while preventing sun-damage. Coincidentally, it just so happens that the Red Original performance t-shirt and performance top layer provide wearers with both of these things.
Another great way of protecting yourself from the sun is to simply avoid it when it’s at its peak. This time of day is known as ‘Solar Noon’ and unfortunately, it is a little less easy to determine than regular old noon (A.K.A. Midday, 12:00 pm, etc.). Still, you can use it as a guideline, which is why we’d recommend finding some shelter and having a break from around 11:30 am until after 1:00 pm. If that window is a little too wide for you and you’d rather work out when Solar Noon in your area is, here’s a handy Solar Noon calculator.
Sorry to ruin the fun, but while a cool bottle of beer on a hot day may feel like bliss, it’s not actually going to do you any good. Firstly, alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it actually causes your body to lose water. This has obvious repercussions, as less water means less sweat and a higher risk of dehydration. Alcohol also dilates the blood vessels, which is something that heat also does. Just one can lead to lightheadedness and it is not uncommon for a combination of the two to result in fainting.
Avoiding alcohol completely is undoubtedly the best option, but if you’re going to drink then do so sensibly. Limiting your intake to only one or two units is a good idea, as is drinking water at the same time. Stronger drinks, like vodka, rum, and other high-percentage spirits, have a greater diuretic effect on the body, so it’s best to avoid them completely in favour of weaker alcoholic beverages. That said, if you’re going to drink spirits, it is best to enjoy them with diet or sugar-free mixer. This is because sugary drinks, such as non-diet soft drinks, actually make it harder for the body to rehydrate.
Take A Dip!
Now here’s a fun way to cool down! Whether you’re paddle boarding on a lake or kayaking at sea, one of the best ways to stay cool in the heat is to get in the water. This is a lot easier said than done, as even the most dedicated watersports enthusiast will have to get off the water and go to work eventually. While not as effective as submerging your entire body, it is still possible to use water from a bottle or tap to help cool yourself down.
One of the most effective ways to cool the body down with water is to simply run some over your wrists for about 30 seconds. The wrists’ blood vessels are relatively close to the surface, so running cold water on your wrists helps to cool the blood that is then circulated to other areas of the body. Another easy and effective thing to do is to fill a spray bottle up with water and give yourself an occasional spritz.
Regularly Rest & Relax
Anyone who loves being active outdoors knows how easy it is to get carried away when the weather is good. We’ve all been guilty of it at one point or another and we’ve all had to pay the price. As much as the above points will help you stay cool in the heat, it’s still important to take frequent breaks so that your body can cool down. We’ve already mentioned that noon (solar or otherwise) is a good time to get out of the sun and chill, but you really can’t take too many breaks when the temperature starts creeping past 30°C.
Engaging in any physical activity when it’s hot can wear the body out, so it’s a good idea to use breaks like these to recharge and replenish. As Red Original is made up of paddle board fanatics, a lot of us like to rest by sitting on our boards with our legs in the sea. Those of us who carry a waterproof pouch or deck bag will often bring chocolate, power bars and other small snacks along with us so that we can give ourselves a little boost without having to go back to shore. For those who want more time to rest, relax, replenish and recharge, cooler bags are ideal for bringing a more substantial amount of food and drink along. Cooler bags, such as the high-performance Red Original waterproof cooler bag, have the added benefit of thermal-lock insulation, which effectively ensures that hot food and drink stays warm, while cold food and drink stays cool. Please note that placing hot and cold food and drink in a single cooler bag together will not work out the way you want it to.
12 Tried & Tested Tips To Help You Stay Cool In The Heat
- Drink plenty of water, but not ice-cold water
- Replace lost salts and minerals with electrolyte drinks
- Wear moisture-wicking clothes with a high UPF
- Apply sunscreen with a high UPF
- Stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest
- Don’t drink alcohol, but be smart about it if you do
- Avoid sugary drinks
- Submerge yourself in water
- Wet your wrists for 30 seconds
- Mist yourself with cool water
- Take frequent breaks
- Eat to give your body the energy to cool itself