Feeling the heat? Here are 10 ways to keep your cool

Feeling the heat? Here are 10 ways to keep your cool
Above all, stay hydrated. Credit: Canva

As Belgium basks in a heatwave reaching temperatures up to 34°C this weekend, with the east of the country being given code orange, even the most fanatic sunbathers will need to limit their exposure to the sun. Here are ten ways to keep cool when the mercury rises to new levels.

1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

While a fresh, Belgian pint or a tropical cocktail might seem like the perfect solution to the blazing sun, it is now especially important to drink alcohol in moderation and alternate with a glass of water. Alcohol dehydrates your body, as do sugary drinks and caffeine.

Try swapping the iced latte with a cup of tea and replace the mojito with fresh lemonade.

Credit: Canva

2. Consume warm drinks

A cold drink can provide instant refreshment in hot weather but your body will automatically warm up when you ingest cold things. If you want to opt for long-lasting refreshment, drink something lukewarm or warm, such as tea or room-temperature water.

3. Hot weather, not hot food

If spicy food is your thing, it won't do you any favours in hot weather. Opt for more easily digestible meals instead, such as fresh vegetables and fruits. Not only are they healthier, they also contain extra moisture.

4. Fan rather than air-conditioning

Switching on the air-conditioning in your office, car or bedroom might be tempting. However, keep in mind that the temperature between inside and outside should not differ too much, as it is not healthy for the body. Using a fan instead will keep you cool while not deregulating your body temperature.

5. Cold showers are short-lived

While nothing is more refreshing than a quick dip, Brussels doesn’t have many options for outdoor swimming (read where to go instead here). Opting for an ice-cold shower might therefore seem like a good idea, but cold water closes your skin pores and makes you sweat less. That means your body stops cooling itself, and it makes you feel warmer than before. Opt for a lukewarm shower instead.

Credit: Canva

6. Avoid extreme exercise

While exercising and staying fit will definitely help you get through summer, avoid extreme exercise when temperatures are high. Especially between 12:00 and 16:00 – the hottest hours of the day – refrain from exerting yourself too much. Instead, go out early or wait  for the heat of the day to pass. And don't forget to bring plenty of water!

7. Drink plenty of water

Stay hydrated, even if you aren’t thirsty. Water works wonders for your health, especially during heatwaves. You want to be aiming for well over 2 litres of water per day, and check that your urine is fairly light in colour.

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8. Don’t let the heat in

One way to keep the heat away is to simply not let it in. Keep curtains, doors and shutters closed and only open up everything when it is cooler outside than inside, for instance at night or in the early morning.

9. Protect yourself

When heading out in the heat, wear light and loose-fitting clothing in light colours. This gives you more air circulation to wick away sweat and cool your body. Don’t forget your sunglasses and a protective headpiece, and apply sunscreen often.

Credit: Canva

10. Seek shade

Simple but effective: seek shade. Cities warm up faster than the countryside, but natural areas still provide shade and protection. Venture into the woods or go for a walk in the park. In the heart of town, find areas such as churches to take a cool break.

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