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5 Ways To Stay Cool This Summer Without Air Conditioning

5 Ways To Stay Cool This Summer Without Air Conditioning

Summer is in full swing, and the country is feeling it. La Niña is predicted to warm up virtually all of the continental United States, which means this summer will be a fight to keep cool. Rather than cranking up the AC, however, you can avoid sweltering by using some economically savvy and hot-weather-friendly tips to beat the heat. Here are five ways to stay cool this summer without air conditioning.

1. Cool down your body from the inside out

A great way to bring yourself some relief from the sun is to drink and eat cold things to make yourself feel colder. Drinking plenty of water will help keep you hydrated, but ice water will chill you down as well.

You don’t have to limit yourself to water, either. Ice pops, slushies and smoothies can be delicious snacks as well as helpful on a hot summer’s day. There are plenty of ways to add flavor to ice and make it more fun. Consider pouring a flavorful ingredient, like lemonade or tea, into an ice tray and use it to cool down drinks without watering them down.

Drink plenty of fluids, particularly cold fluids, to help your body maintain a comfortable temperature. It’ll help you produce sweat, which is your body’s natural defense against overheating, and it will bring at least a temporary chill.

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2. Refrigerate your sheets before bed

A particularly effective way of fighting off the heat at night is to make use of your sheets.

Soaking a top sheet or fitted sheet in water, wringing it out, and then leaving it in the refrigerator for a few hours before bed will give you an excellent cooling device as you sleep. The cold sheets—and you will want to use linen or some other light fabric that will quickly dry and not stay wet for this—will feel great against your skin throughout the night.

If you’re not interested in refrigerating your bedding, small washcloths are a less cumbersome and more targeted cooling device for keeping cool. Make your to place them on pulse points on your body, which will cool your body down faster. Your neck, wrist and elbow are all examples of good spots to cool you down.

3. Use fans strategically

Fans don’t cool air; they just move it around. However, a bit of know-how can still ensure your fan is used most efficiently to keep your body cooler. Positioning fans in hallways and windows can bring cool air in while pushing warm air away, and makes things feel cooler.

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Putting a bowl of ice water in front of a fan spray a gentle, cold mist around, and will work greatly to your advantage in order to make everything feel cooler.

Finally, your ceiling fan’s direction can determine just how effective it is at cooling you down. In the summer, having your fan move counter-clockwise will keep you cooler for the summer as it creates a cooling breeze in that direction (moving it clockwise will circulate warm air).

4. Pay attention to your windows and doors

Your windows play a critical role in determining the temperature of your house; a few smart adjustments can bring the temperature down by several degrees.

Setting up a cover or shade over your windows will prevent heat from getting in in the first place, as will keeping concrete away from your windows. If you can’t install an awning outside every window or redesign your yard, however, good blinds will also be effective in keeping the heat out. Make sure your curtains have a white back, as that will reflect the most light.

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Honeycomb blinds do more than other blinds to trap heat against the window, preventing it from circulating in your house. Investing in good curtains will keep light and heat out efficiently.

Finally, make sure that your windows are all sealed up and properly installed. Gaps and cracks can let out cool air, which will make keeping the house cool much harder.

And of course, don’t forget about your doors. Cracks round the edges and through the key hole let cool air escape. This may sound counter intuitive, but sealing yourself in your home is the best way to stay cool on a hot day. You should even consider a keyless entry system on your front door. These don’t let any cool air escape and are simple for a locksmith to install in any home.

5. Avoid using heat-producing appliances

When it’s sweltering outside, the last thing you want is to have it sweltering inside. But turning on your oven or stove will do just that, no matter what. Having a 400-degree anything in your house is bound to heat things up, so when possible, avoid cooking with these tools in the summer.

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Instead, opt for outdoor grilling, which keeps the heat out. A slow cooker will also keep heat to a minimum while still providing you with decent variety for meals.

Certain light bulbs are also more likely to generate a lot of heat. 90 percent of the energy used by incandescent light bulbs is given off as heat. Switch to CFLs for cooler lighting.

If you have the right temperature, try air-drying your clothes as well. Dryers are also a big source of heat, and your clothes won’t be so warm when they’re done.

Air conditioning can get expensive, particularly when the temperatures keep rising as they will this summer. Maximizing use of these techniques will reduce the need for air conditioning or eliminate it altogether. Staying cool this summer doesn’t have to be an expensive task.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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