It’s hot in Australia at the moment. Really hot. Super dooper can’t-concentrate-on-anything-other-than-plunging-into-cold-water hot.
Heatstroke kills more Australians than natural disasters, with up to 80% of cases ending in fatalities. With temperatures set to soar above the 40 degree mark across the island continent over the coming week, there’s never been a more important time to be sun-sensible and look out for the wellbeing of those around you.
Read on to discover my top heatwave hacks to #beattheheat in rockstar style.
Tip # 1 – Look After People Around You
During extreme conditions, look after the people around you, especially children, the elderly and animals, who are most at risk of heat exhaustion. If you live next door to a family with small children or elderly people, tap on your neighbours’ door and make sure they’re OK - daily, if possible. It could make all the difference in the long run.
Tip # 2 – Stay Hydrated
Avoid alcohol or caffeine during a heatwave as they are diuretics that will ensure you lose more water and salt from your body than you should. Drink plenty of water, but make sure to include an electrolyte supplement such as Hydralyte, or pick up a pre-packaged electrolyte drink like Powerade, to optimize your body’s sugar and salt levels. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit on the side – oranges and watermelon are filled to the brim with water and natural sugars, as well as being pretty darn delicious.
Tip # 3 – Avoid Prolonged Sun Exposure
It may sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people flock to the beach and swimming pools during the day, only to get heatstroke. Stay out of the sun – I repeat – STAY OUT OF THE SUN. Go swimming in the early mornings and evenings and always make sure to bring more water and electrolytes than you think you will need. The UV count is significantly lower at these times compared with the middle of the day, so you’ll also reduce the risk of sun damage.
Tip # 4 – Get Thee To Air Con Paradise
If you don’t have air conditioning – or if you have a busted unit from the 70s that’s on its last legs – get to your local shopping centre, library or cinema and enjoy the benefits of their state-of-the-art systems. Treat yourself to a movie and buy a spray mister from the $2 shop on the way out. Grab a couple for any children or elderly people in your neighborhood who might not be able to make it to the shops.
Tip # 5 – Eat Healthy and Don’t Have Heavy Meals
Ditch the heavy meals and switch to eating cold, lighter dishes. Larger meals will kickstart your metabolism and increase your body heat. Summer is a great time for fresh produce, so switch that heavy carb dish for a protein-rich salad.
Tip # 5 - Limit or Avoid Exercise
Exercising during extreme heat puts you at a larger risk of heat exhaustion. If you can’t bear the idea of missing your daily gym session, choose more low-impact exercises like hatha yoga or pilates that won’t require you to sweat and lose vital water and salts.