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When a heatwave hits, it’s best to find an oasis of coolness. Heat not only has a direct physiological effect, it can also reduce brain function by up to 10%, resulting in that foggy brain feeling.

Rather than letting the humidity defeat you, here are a few ideas for keeping cool while stimulating your neurons.

Rediscover public libraries

In addition to being air-conditioned, public libraries also offer free programs and a wide range of workshops and activities. And let’s not forget their primary mission of promoting reading. They also have board games, puzzles, and all sorts of do-dads, including, in some cases, tools (crafts, cooking, carpentry, bike mechanics, etc.), which you can borrow and use to explore your artistic side.

A trip to the museum

Is your walking club’s resolve waning at the thought of heading out under the scorching sun? Museums offer a cool option for walking while quenching your thirst for knowledge. Interesting fact: A research team has shown that viewing art increases blood flow to the brain by as much as 10%. For inspiration, here’s a list of museums by region (Quebec) and province (Canada).

Escape games

Escape rooms allow you to dive into crazy scenarios and experience suspense by locking yourself in a room with others to solve a series of puzzles. But time is limited, so you need to work with your team to beat the clock. Talk about brain‑teasing fun and excitement all wrapped up in one activity!

Our Research and Intervention colleagues managed to escape during their last team building activity!

Miniature golf in a cool place

Indoor mini-golf courses are designed to promote laughter and spark brain activity. Miniature golf is a great source of fun, whether you’re with family, friends, or even on your own. Some indoor installations are more traditional, where the thrill is simply to make a hole-in-one. Others combine beloved structures with surprising visual effects or virtual reality.

Bowling, Darling!

Bowling is an excellent muscle-strengthening activity and a great way to improve flexibility and coordination. Three games of bowling are equivalent to walking one kilometre—your step counter will have a field day! What’s more, bowling is a social activity that requires strategy and skill. So go ahead, indulge your grey matter.

Take in a show!

Granted, there aren’t many indoor performances during the day, but entertainment venues provide welcome relief during those hot, suffocating evenings. Humour, dance, music, theater, circus: The performing arts are great outlet for self-expression and creativity.

Movies are another great way to immerse yourself in a unique experience. Like many other art forms, movies stimulate empathy, an important cognitive function that enables us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Treat yourself by choosing a favourite genre, then allow your mind to settle into a state of deep concentration that may just boost your cognition and memory!

And don’t forget your water bottle!