Summer is almost here, and it’s gonna be a hot one. You might be tempted to crawl into a dark corner of your basement and wait it out or, God forbid, move to Northern Ontario. Before you resort to worst case scenarios or wind up a heat-stricken vegetable, read our simple how-to guide to staying cool the practical way.

6. Drink a lot of water (but not too much)

Let’s start with the obvious: water equals cool. How much you require on a given day varies with age, weight, gender and your propensity to sweat like a prison snitch. There’s no concrete measurement though the common recommendation of eight glasses per day is a bit low for the average man; the Institute of Medicine recommendation is closer to 13. If you think you might be dehydrated (it’s not that easy to tell) check the colour of your pee, then call a few friends to check it, too, and give their own assessments.

On a hot and humid day, drinking water becomes a more reactive process, as in your body will probably tell you when you need a cup. But don’t overdo it: water intoxication is a real thing. Even though your body excretes water almost every moment through your breath and sweat, your kidneys can only handle about 800 to 1,000 millilitres of fluid per hour. Constant chugging during high-intensity exercise probably won’t kill you ... unless it does.

5. Eat the right food

If you asked the average person what to eat during a heat wave, they’d probably answer “ice cream” or some such nonsense. They would be wrong and you could laugh at them as they slowly died of heat stroke. In reality, eating spicy food to actively raise your body temperature is sometimes recommended because, as you’ll hear a lot in these kinds of articles, the more you sweat, the cooler you are. Remember that Indian and Latino cultures cook some of the world’s spiciest food while living under the hottest day-to-day conditions, for precisely that reason.

In terms of intake, eat small meals throughout the day with minimal protein. If spicy bean curry isn’t your thing go for lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re mostly water and will give you a break between bottles of Perrier.

4. Wear the right clothes

It is understandably difficult for the average person to alter their clothes for hot weather. Nobody wants to come to the office looking like this. But loose-fitting clothes are still highly recommended and pick cotton over synthetic fabrics. If you have a collar, pop it and keep the sun off the back of your neck. Avoid the temptation to go shirtless – this is a controversial topic, so much that some guy made an entire blog dedicated to it, but the simple fact is that clothing retains your sweat (and reflects sunlight). Your body releases sweat for the sole purpose of cooling you off, so as gross as it might seem keep that moisture close to your body and away from your fellow pedestrians.

3. Stay clean

If you’re like me you may wonder why homeless people can walk around in 35 degree weather wearing the same full-body overalls they’ve had on since 2007 without dying, or why thick-skinned animals like pigs and elephants roll around in the mud to keep cool. Do they know something we don’t?

Mud can be an excellent coolant if used properly; it contains moisture and doesn’t dry as quickly as regular old dirt. But since you’re (probably) a man you may not have the inclination to try a nice brown facial. Alternately, shower a lot without overusing skin care products. Keeping your pores open and oil-free is essential to allow heat release. Wash the sweat from your face with water, don’t just rub it around with a rag or a friend’s shirt.

2. Stay wet

What to do with all the water you haven’t drunk? Use it to your advantage. Instead of occasionally shocking your system with a cold shower or jump in the pool, keep a constant supply of moisture on your skin. Fill a spray bottle with icy water and mist  yourself in the face every so often; the water will not immediately run off your skin and act as a kind of synthetic sweat. Soak a towel in cold water and keep it on the back or your neck or on your feet.

1. Prep your house

Air conditioning is a one-step solution to your heat problem. It also costs you hundreds of dollars a year and sucks energy up like a vacuum. Instead heat-proof your house using practical solutions. On a calm day keep your windows closed with the shades down, and open at night (though the police might advise you otherwise) unless there’s a direct breeze to let in. Set your ceiling fan at a reasonable rotation to circulate air, not so speedy that it creates a useless vertical downdraft.

You can also keep a steady indoor breeze by placing one portable fan in front of a window facing inward and another facing outward at the opposite end of the house. [Thanks to The Daily Green]

1 Comments | Add a Comment
"God forbid, move to Northern Ontario"Great comment, especially from someone who has obviously never been past Barrie. It is this ignorant, southern Ontario perspective that makes you look bad and us laughing. For your information, Northern Ontario feels the heat as well during the summer. A little research and journalistic integrity go a long way. And any time you venture north on Hwy. 11,be sure to stop in at my igloo. The moose stew is always boiling on the woodstove.
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