While we are away in hot Spain for the week, here is an oldie but a goodie past article (revamped) on air conditioning and your health. (And no-we won’t have the air conditioning on where we are!)
Turn up the heat and sweat for good health
I can hear some of you grown a bit…(grrrr). Turn off the air conditioning? No way. But keep reading, I am not telling you to turn off the air conditioning for good or to not have it on for extremely hot days.
I am asking you to consider how your air conditioning is linked to your health.
In the ‘olden days’ we didn’t have air conditioning
Who remembers sitting in front of a fan trying to stay cool with a tall glass of real lemonade on a really hot day? Or running around outside until late on a summer night during a heat wave? Sitting in a lake to cool down?
Or just remembering the sweat pouring down our face because we were really hot.
I do. And I miss it.
It seems like back in the ‘olden days’ life was hotter but we still survived. We knew that in the summer the hot weather means we had to adapt. Our bodies did too.
And now, with air conditioning, our bodies get used to the same ‘weather’, all year round. This doesn’t seem natural (or healthy). Research (see below) seems to support my theory.
Visiting New Jersey in the summer and experiencing air conditioning shock
In the summer in America everything is air-conditioned. Everything (whoops-except the beach)! It is always a shock coming over for our two month summer trip. We love it except for the heavy sweatshirts we need to carry around in the trunk of the car for air conditioning shock. (We dread how cold some of these restaurants will be as we eat. We frequent outdoor dining. We beg the wait staff to turn on the heat. We shiver).
We are just not used to it. Our bodies neither. And I don’t want to get used to it.
I don’t see other people shivering and wearing sweatshirts. That is because people (Americans?) do get used to it, living in air conditioning. In most places in the world, it is just too expensive to use the air conditioner.
Why you should rethink the (really) cold air conditioner habit
Our bodies change to adjust to heat by regulating our body’s temperature to try to stay cool in hot weather. Among the different physiological changes to hot weather, our bodies slow down our feelings of hunger. We eat lighter, eat colder foods and we eat less. We also drink more water because we must stay hydrated. Sweating is a natural process and drinking more water helps to flush out toxins in our bodies.
Research has shown a link between obesity and air conditioning
Research published in the International Journal of Obesity suggest that air conditioning is one of the ten factors causing obesity.
There may be correlations between overuse of air conditioning and increased body weight. The first idea is that during hot weather your body must strive to stay cool and regulate your body temperature. Doing this burns calories, more than sitting in air conditioning. Secondly, hot weather decreases appetite, so normally in the summer, if we weren’t around air conditioning we would eat fewer calories and enjoy less heavy foods.
When you do need air conditioning, turn it on
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, I am not saying to completely turn off air conditioning. Nor am saying that air conditioning doesn’t have its important place in this world. In fact, for those suffering from allergies or asthma air conditioning could be their life saver. During a heat wave, those more at risk for dehydration such as babies or elderly could benefit from the cool air conditioning provides. In fact, during a heat wave, for vulnerable populations, air conditioning could be a life saver.
Here is my reflections on air conditioning.
- Keep air conditioning going on just extremely hot days
- Think of the environment to keep temperatures higher or turn off the air conditioning completely
- Try to live without air conditioning as much as possible
- Remember that sweat is normal and healthy
- Listen to your body during hot days: eating less, drink more water, eat lighter and colder foods
What are your thoughts? Do you have a story to tell? Would love to hear about it. If you like what you see, why not share this article and subscribe to the newsletter below? By subscribing you receive new articles direct in your inbox and your free E-report on French Good Health Tips.
Happy (almost) Summer!