By Chuck Ungs
Heat is a curious thing. During this week of being reminded that mom nature likes to let us know when school is back in session, we should take a glance at how heat really operates. You may have to drop back to high school physics to recall all this, but heat moves in only one direction. It flows from an item with a greater amount of heat energy to an item with less. How can you utilize this information when one wishes to be cooler, one might ask? Simple – by moving the heat present in your body to an item with a lower amount of heat energy. Or by stopping the flow of addition heat into your body – read on for more information.
Often heat transfers are accomplished by our bodies without even thinking about it. The old saying is that horses sweat, men perspire and women glisten. In fact, this reaction to being overly warm is a very effective method of cooling a body off. It works by transferring the heat of your body into the air via evaporation of your sweat. This is accomplished much more effectively with a breeze speeding up the lifting away of heat – weather that is sent by nature or by a fan depends on your situation at the time. The sweat is able to facilitate the carrying away of heat into the air. When humidity rises then the capacity of the air to lift the sweat from your skin is diminished – there is already lots of moisture in the air so it doesn’t evaporate as easily, this is why we feel fine with a dry heat but uncomfortable in humid conditions.
Another method to remove heat is to avoid direct contact with light that increases warmth – in other words stay in the shade. The infrared radiation present in the daylight adds to the heat we are carrying rather than removing it. So staying in the shade like cattle around the one tree in a pasture on a hot day is a cooler place for us as well as the cows.
The final suggestion would be to reduce your heat energy by contact with cool or cold items or liquids. I recommend a nice tall glass of water or iced tea to help transfer some of that heat away from your body, in a rather effective way to stay cool and hydrated at the same time.