When the weather turns warmer, I get so excited to get outside and get my hands in the dirt. Nothing brings spring to life like planting new flowers and bringing some color to my home after the long gray winter. I think I got that from my grandmother. She always planted new roses in her flower beds and a garden large enough to feed us all. In the spring, working outside is pretty easy, it’s cool and breezy but come summer, no one wants to be out there sweatin’ to the oldies mowing the grass. I know I don’t but here I am every Saturday mowing just like all the other people in my neighborhood. I’ve found some handy tips to keep myself cool this summer. I hope they help you too!
Reduce heat by setting up a misting system.
Try setting up a mist cooling system to keep the heat at bay. While this obviously doesn’t cool down the temperature of the air, it can help to moisten your skin and cool you down by evaporating. You’d be amazed how a little mist to the face boosts morale on a hot summer day! I have one of these handy handheld bottles with a fan filled with ice water but there are others that are whole systems that cover driveways like a little car wash. You can find plans for what works online. Do what works for you!
Get to know the shade schedule on your property or work site.
For me, I have a lot of projects to do all around my house, the list is never ending it seems, so it pays to know what will be in the shade and when! Work smarter to avoid heat exhaustion. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, find your shade and follow it but never stop working!
Wear hot weather clothing.
This seems like a no brainer – wear the right clothing for working in the heat. Chose clothing that’s lightweight, wicking, light in color and even long sleeve shirts that protect your skin from the sun. Get a big old hat with a wide brim to shade your delicate face and neck. I burn like a Thanksgiving turkey in the sun so I completely cover myself.
Hydrate days in advance.
Everyone knows to stay hydrated when you’re working in the heat. However, not everyone knows that to be adequately hydrated, you must drink plenty of water days before you’ll need it! I try to drink copious amounts of water maybe three days before I’ll be working in the sun.
Avoid working in the heat of the day all-together. Try to find indoor activities.
Try to schedule your yardwork around the sun. I go out first thing in the morning or as the heat dissipates at the end of the day. Avoid time when the sun sits highest in the sky.
Eat Light Meals
Most of the heat generated in the body is derived from eating. If you have ever eaten a large meal and felt sweaty and lethargic afterward, this is because eating increases your core temperature as the body works to digest and metabolize your meal.
Watermelon, peaches, apricots and radishes naturally cool the body by replenishing electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, that conduct electrical impulses in the body. Loss in electrolytes through sweat leads to dehydration.
Other foods such as fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds are known to improve heart health, cooling the body as they lower blood pressure.
A few other foods to eat include:
- Salads with leafy greens, cucumbers, spinach and tomatoes
- Fresh fruit for dessert
- Eat seafood like clams and crab
Increases in core body temperature have been linked to caffeine intake. Caffeine causes vasoconstriction, the constriction of blood vessels which warms the blood. Vasoconstriction is the opposite of vasodilation, which is a process used to cool the body. Despite your attempts to cool down with that iced coffee or energy drink, the feeling may be temporary as the warming effect of caffeine commences.
The most important tip I have for you is to listen to your body. If you feel too hot, go get cooled off. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or anything else out of the ordinary go inside and rehydrate.