Managing the Summer Heat- Ideas for keeping cool

July came in HOT! 

But here are some ideas for beating the heat and keeping cool this summer

Topics included:

  • Hydration
  • Foods that Cool?
  • Dress for heat
  • Up your Fan game
  • Cool down your ‘Hot Zones’
  • Recipes (electrolyte popsicle, Cooling smoothie below) YUM!
  • Skin Cooling: Aloe Ice Cubes
  • What our staff does to ‘beat the heat’

Summer is in full swing which is a time when people are eager to get outside and embrace the warmth, relaxation, and adventurous spirit of summer. But some days could reach hard-to-bear sweltery high temperatures. We’ve put together some helpful tips, tricks, and recipes for keeping cool this summer as temps soar.

Here at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, we take care to keep our summer campers in cool situations when the heat becomes oppressive. We have scheduled local trips to lakes where the campers can splash in a lake or go on a field trip to the cool of the forest canopy for short hikes and a quick dip. We are fortunate that groups of campers can walk over to Keyes pool and cool off every day that weather permits. In addition to indoor activities galore at the Club, we are on trips to museums, indoor theme parks, Palace theater — all heat-beaters in an air-conditioned environment. Whatever we are doing with Club members, we are always reminding them to have their water bottle in hand and DRINK plenty!

Hydration is the name of the game

Hydration is key when your body is trying to maintain homeostasis or the regulated state. And sweating, although kind of unappealing, is your body’s way of cooling you down.
Iced water is your safest bet in cooling you down, but any liquid is better than no liquid … including coffee.

Drinking a lot of water is one way to stay hydrated during the summer, but did you know that additional hydration can also be done by eating foods that have high water content? This includes fruits and vegetables such as melons, berries, pineapple, peaches, oranges, grapes, leafy greens, cucumbers, and bell peppers, broccoli, celery, cooked summer squash (yellow and zucchini).

Drink something hot

It seems counterintuitive, but drinking something hot on a warm, dry day can help to cool a body off. Studies have found that drinking a hot beverage increases sweat production, which in turn cools the body off. There’s just one caveat—the sweat needs to be able to evaporate in quickly. So make sure to not wear clothing that can trap sweat if a scorching day is paired with high humidity.

Foods that cool?

Get spicy!  Spicy foods prepared with chili peppers are great coolers as well –

Odd but true: spicy foods actually help you cool down by increasing your blood circulation, which in turn will cause you to sweat.

And while ice cream might seem refreshing in the moment, it will only make you feel warmer because it doesn’t directly cool your core body temperature. Eating ice cream can trigger a complex response from your body’s thermoregulatory system. Eating ice cream makes your body warmer because your digestive system needs to break down the calorie-rich food (fat and refined sugar), all of which generate heat. Try some flavored ice or the cooling recipes below for a fun beat-the-heat snack.

Dress for heat- 

The sun is the hottest between 11 am and 2 pm, and sunburns are most likely to happen during that period. Limiting exposure will limit your chances of overheating and a burn.
If you are destined to be outside during those hours, make sure you dress in light, loose, breathable clothing, (think cotton) and footwear that won’t cause your feet to sweat. Visors or vented hats are also crucial for blazing hot weather, keeping you cool by providing shade. Sunglasses and a quality sunblock will protect your eyes from damaging UV rays.

Up your fan game

Fun Facts: Set your ceiling fans to rotate counter-clockwise in summer to push air straight down helping to create a cooling effect and clockwise in winter to pull cool air up. In warmer weather, set the fan speed high and in cooler weather it works best on low.

Strategic placement of fans throughout the home can completely change an indoor climate. Window fans pulling in cooler outside air should be positioned on the first floor of the shadiest, coolest side of the home (most likely in a north-facing window). A fan blowing out the window, which will suck warmer air from inside, should be placed on the sunniest, hottest side of the second floor (or the same floor if it’s a one-story home or apartment).

Cool down your body’s “hot zones”

Ice your pressure points for cooling happiness!

Applying an ice pack or a bottle filled with iced water will help you cool down immediately.
Your pressure points are:
– Ankles
– Behind the knees
– Wrists
– Elbow bends
– Neck
– Temples

 

Eat a Popsicle

It was the best way to cool down when you were a kid, and nothing has changed. Cool down by eating a popsicle!

RECIPES to beat the Summer heat

Citrus Electrolyte Popsicles for Kids (and adults) 

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 cups filtered water or coconut water

2 tbsp raw honey

1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, coconut water, honey, and salt until the honey is dissolved and everything is well combined.  Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or until solid.

Make a smoothie to cool down-

An ice-cold smoothie will bring your core temp down a bit especially when incorporating known body temp regulators and excellent hydrators like coconut and wheatgrass.

Tropical Coconut Wheatgrass Smoothie

This recipe brings fruit to the party with wheatgrass juice and coconut water. It’s light and very refreshing on a hot day.

1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

1 small banana – frozen is best

A handful of ice

1 oz shot of fresh wheatgrass juice

8 oz coconut water

Combine everything in a blender, and blend until the mixture is smooth. 

Aloe ice cubes (to cool your skin)

Despite our best efforts to reapply sunscreen sometimes we are too involved in the day’s activities to remember, and being out in the sun all day can still lead to sunburn. The medicinal use of aloe vera to help treat skin irritations can be traced back thousands of years. Aloe vera is an antiseptic and is often referred to as a ‘wonder plant’: In skin care applications it acts as a cleanser, astringent, and moisturizer, and it can stimulate the growth of new skin tissue, while also calming the nervous system. For an extra cooling trick fill a silicone icecube tray with aloe vera gel and pop it into the freezer. Once frozen – Use aloe ice cube to soothe sunburn or irritated skin.

We asked our staff what they did to beat the summer heat:

  • Go to the Beach
  • Indoor Summer Craft Activities and DIY Summer Crafts with the kids
  • Explore our local forests – hiking trails and make it a learning activity
  • Paddling (kayak, canoe)
  • Outdoor Yoga and Meditation Practices for a Mindful Summer
  • Family Road Trips
  • Picnics in the shade
  • Camping near a lake
  • Spend time in/at pool
  • Make a lot of popsicles and homemade Ice Cream
  • Outdoor Movie Night: Creating a Magical Summer Experience in our Backyard
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