26 July, 2008

Keeping your cool in hot weather

This is a post I published in the ElderExercise blog. After all the positive experiences I had joining the yoga online-community, wopramo, last December, I decided recently to join the ElderExercise group as well. Both communities have been invaluable in helping me find some balance to my days. Thanks guys.

I’ve had the blessing of visiting and living in a few countries which are hot all year round. I’d thought I’d share with you some of the ways to keep cool in hot weather. These are the following practices I’ve observed, they are not perhaps scientifically proven, but they are green and they are well meant:

Seek shade and breezy

Avoid extreme temperature changes. Moderate temperature changes are better for regulating your body’s internal thermostat. So, if you must use air conditioning in your home, change it’s temperature throughout the day to be just 4-5 degrees Celsius different with the outdoor temperature.

Whenever possible, open a window or turn on a fan and create a draft, rather than turning on an air conditioner. Seek out shaded areas in a park or on a lake and hunker down for a read or a snooze. Quiet occupations in shaded areas helps your body to cool down. Escaping into a freezing movie theatre only produces temporary relief and adds strain to your body when you leave.

Cool feet

Dip your feet and lower legs in water whenever possible. We don’t have air conditioning at work (actually, we don’t have much air conditioning anywhere in Germany) and so whenever there is a heatwave and the temperature in my office is higher than my blood, I put some cold water into a plastic garbage bin and rest me feel and lower legs there until my body temperature cools down.

A friend of mine in Australia told me recently that when she gets too hot, she puts on thick wet socks, lies down in dark room and aims the fan at her feet.

Eat cold and drink hot

Most of the countries that I’ve been in that have extremely hot weather have this practice of eating cold (actually room temperature food) and drinking hot teas all the day through. Some of the countries eat a hot meal early in the morning or very late at night, but during the day they eat temperate food.

This is obviously because they don’t want to put the stove on during the day, but even so, when given the choice in restaurants or other venues, they still do not eat heavy hot meals.

Universally, people in those countries drink hot tea the whole day through. My two favourite teas for hot weather are sage tea and mint tea. Sage tea is, according to my herbalist, an old remedy for perfusive sweating and hot flashes. I mix up a large pot in the morning and drink it throughout the day. For mint tea, I just crumble numerous fresh mint leaves in a glass and pour hot water over it.

Move slow

Have you ever noticed that people in hot countries move with a slow swaying grace? Learn to replicate the walk and practice it diligently. Stop rushing.

Loose clothing and no underwear

Don’t wear tight fitting clothes. Try wearing caftans or loose tops and skirts. Try not wearing underwear when wearing a dress or skirt. Seriously, it works.

So, that is it for now. I hope you find one or two of the tips helpful. Do you have any tips of your own?

1 comment:

  1. I wish a had a need for your tips these days. But then I quite like German summer with two or three hot days followed by rain or thunderstorm.