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How to keep cool in hot weather and stay hydrated

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Susan Devaney
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It’s about to get hotter in the UK, so be prepared. 

From irritable commuters to the Met Office warning us to stay out of the sun, the UK summer heatwave has left us feeling a wee bit hot and bothered.

It doesn’t have to be that way; before we know it the summer sun will have set and the leaves will start turning brown.

But as temperatures are set to hit 32 degrees this week, it’s vitally important to protect yourself – while having fun in the sun.

Here are a few ways to keep cool and stay hydrated during the heatwave. 

Invest in a reusable water bottle 

It may be simple advice, but keeping hydrated during a heatwave often slips people’s minds. To ensure you don’t join the legions of people in recent weeks who’ve gotten off the tube feeling faint, invest in a reusable water bottle.

And you can easily refill it all across the UK. In London, 65 outlets in five areas of the city are currently offering free tap water refills to people in a bid to reduce single-use plastic.

To find out exactly where you can refill your own bottle, download the app. To make it simple for all, refill locations across the UK will also advertise the service with stickers in their windows.

According to the NHS, you should try to avoid excess alcohol, caffeine (tea, coffee and cola) or drinks high in sugar.

Peruse our gallery of the best reusable water bottles here

Try to avoid the midday sun

We know it’s hard, but follow expert advice form the NHS by staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm (the hottest part of the day). Not only will it help to keep you feeling cool, but you’ll also be protecting your skin from potential sunburn, too.

Just pop to a rooftop bar after work instead and watch the sunset. You don’t have to tell us twice…

Eat a delicious curry 

Yeah, that’s right, one of your favourite dishes will also help you to cool down. Packed with a bunch of spices, curry is a popular dinner option for most in hot countries like India, Pakistan and Vietnam, for good reason. It’s simple: spices make you sweat which, according to science, makes you cool down faster.

How does it work exactly? Eating a curry full of spices raises your internal temperature to match the temperature outside (who knew!?). Known as ‘gustatory facial sweating’, as your blood circulation increases, you start sweating (in the face first) and once your sweat has evaporated you cool down.

Dinner sorted then? Definitely. 

Sip on a HOT drink 

While you might be reaching for one iced latte after another at the moment, research has found that sipping on a hot drink will actually help you cool down.

Ollie Jay, a researcher at University of Ottawa’s School of Human Kinetics, conducted a series of experiments into the effect a hot drink can have on your overall body temperature. As it turns out, they found that a hot beverage on a hot day will result “in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body”.

After drinking something hot, our body reacts by producing sweat. The sweat then cools on the surface of the skin, reducing the sensation of being too warm and ultimately, making us feel cooler.

Another cuppa then?

Plan your outfits

Before heading outside, make sure you’ve picked the right attire. According to the NHS, we should “wear loose, cool clothing, and a hat and sunglasses”.

And we get it, dressing appropriately for the office in soaring temperatures can prove difficult. Why not follow the lead of Stylist’s fashion writer Billie Bhatia by finding ways to incorporate your holiday wardrobe? Not only will it save you money, but also a whole lot of stress first thing in the morning, too.

You can find some more inspiration here on how to artfully master summer dressing. 

Images: Unsplash

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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