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Cool down: What's better - cold or hot drinks?

life insurance - drinking coffee tip

Cooling down after exercise, especially in the tropical heat, is an important part of recovery.

What is the best way to do it — do you go for an ice-cold drink or a hot one? However, it’s humid and hot; so do you get iced coffee or tea instead?

A hot beverage could actually cool you down — here’s how it works:

  • Your core temperature initially rises (you’re adding heat to your body)
  • The sensors in your mouth, throat, and digestive tract send a signal to your brain to produce more sweat
  • This increase in perspiration is the key to cooling you down

While profuse sweating may feel uncomfortable or seem undesirable, sweat is beneficial and helps cool you down when the sweat evaporates from your skin. For this cooling effect to take place, you need to be in an environment where the sweat can evaporate.

A study compared body temperature after exercising for people who were drinking either a warm drink or a cold drink during exercise. It showed that drinking a 50˚C drink, which is even cooler than the temperature of the usual takeaway hot drinks, reduces the overall body heat storage more than drinking cold drinks.

Drinking cold water or ingesting ice after exercise can shock the organs and doesn’t help the body with its natural cooling process.

What happens when you drink a cold drink during exercise:

  • During exercise, your internal body heat moves to your body’s surface, while your inner temperature actually decreases.
  • Ingesting too much cold food or drink will cause the blood vessels to tighten (restrict blood flow) and make the body retain heat. This will make you feel warmer, not cooler.

SO, WHAT IS THE BEST CHOICE OF DRINK IN HOT WEATHER? Is it hot and humid outside?

  • Yes: your drinks should be room temperature. 
  • No: drink something hot so you sweat more and cool off.

Hot or cold — what matters most is that you stay hydrated. Watch out for signs of dehydration and find out how much liquid you need daily and what are the healthiest drink choices to help you stay hydrated.

To get more health tips, follow the ‘Manulife Cambodia’ Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ManulifeKH or visit www.manulife.com.kh.

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