Top Tips for Exercising in the Heat

As the temperature rises, so does our enthusiasm for outdoor workouts. With summers staying hotter for longer, how can you continue to exercise, even when it is hot?

If you are pushing yourself to exercise too hard when it is too hot, you do not just ruin your workout, you risk jeopardising your health.

Exertional Heat Illness, or EHI, is the term used for conditions that include heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope (fainting), and heat cramps.

It is vital to listen to your body and be attuned to symptoms of EHI. These include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and light-headedness. If you start to become disoriented, or you blackout or faint, it is serious and you need to get immediate medical attention.

This does not mean you cannot still exercise outdoors in summer. You just have to follow some more considered strategies.

Strategy 1: Timing is everything

In summer, the timing of your workouts is just as important as the length and intensity.

Dr Michael Bergeron is a sports medicine researcher and is globally recognised for his research on exercise-heat stress. He consults to international tennis, basketball, soccer, hockey, and martial arts associations.

Dr Bergeron recommends steering clear of the sun’s peak hours between 10am and 4pm, when temperatures are at their highest. Instead, he suggests scheduling outdoor activities during the cooler periods of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings. It minimises your risk of overheating and maximises your performances – and your enjoyment.

When you exercise in the cooler part of the day, your body expends less energy trying to cool itself down, resulting in improved endurance and reduced risk of heat-related issues.

Strategy 2: Buddy up

Exercising with a friend is good for your motivation anyway, but in summer, it is good for your health too.

Dr Bergeron advises having a buddy with you when you exercise in the heat, in case anything goes wrong. Heat stress can creep up on you, and it can help to have someone else telling you to slow down or take a break.

Strategy 3: Drink water, the right way

Do not wait until you are thirsty before you drink. Thirst is a sign that you are already dehydrated.

How much to drink depends on the heat, the intensity of your exercise and your weight.

In advice for competitive tennis players, Dr Bergeron says you can lose between one and two and a half litres of water during each hour of competitive singles. Some players can lose up to 3.5 litres per hour. And although women generally sweat less than men, this is not always the case.

The key, according to Dr Bergeron, is to drink enough water before, during and after exercise.

  • Before your workout, make sure you are well hydrated and avoid caffeine.
  • During exercise, drink enough to feel comfortably full, even if you are not thirsty. If you are exercising for an hour or less, water is fine. Much longer and you might need a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink that includes sodium.
  • Afterwards, you need to replace lost fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates.

Eat Smarter


Despite its name, buckwheat is not a grain but is actually a seed, although we tend to use the pyramid shaped kernels (groats) like a grain.

With plenty of other grains to choose from, why should you bother with buckwheat? Because it is:·     uten free. If you have coeliac disease or are intolerant to gluten, you can eat buckwheat. Just be careful to check labels if you are buying buckwheat products like soba noodles, as they may be combined with wheat.

  • Gluten free. If you have coeliac disease or are intolerant to gluten, you can eat buckwheat. Just be careful to check labels if you are buying buckwheat products like soba noodles, as they may be combined with wheat.
  • High in antioxidants. Buckwheat is rich in antioxidants, more so than many other grains. These include rutin (which may lower your cancer risk and improve your blood lipids) and quercetin (which may lower risk of cancer and heart disease). It is also one of the richest food sources of D-chiro inositol, a unique type of soluble carb that reduces blood sugar and so may help manage diabetes.
  • Rich in minerals. Compared to other grains, the minerals in buckwheat are particularly well absorbed. That is because buckwheat is relatively low in phytic acid, which can reduce the absorption of minerals. Buckwheat contains manganese, copper, magnesium, iron and phosphorus, all essential and sometimes lacking in our diet.
  • High in fibre. Buckwheat is rich in fibre, particularly insoluble fibre and resistant starch. These provide fuel for your beneficial gut bacteria, helping them increase in number.

To cook buckwheat groats for use in soup, salad, or as a side dish, first rinse them well before simmering in boiling water for 10 minutes, until they are tender but still have a little bite. Drain well.

Is It OK to Hit the Snooze Button?

Snoozing, or using intermittent alarms to get in a few more minutes of sleep in the morning, may be beneficial for some people.

In a study of over 1700 adults published in the Journal of Sleep Research, around 70 per cent admitting to hitting the snooze button at least sometimes. The average snooze time was around two minutes.

A second study of people who regularly snoozed for around 30 minutes found that it either improved, or did not affect, performance on cognitive tests. It also did not affect stress hormone levels, morning sleepiness, mood or overnight sleep.

The authors say the finding suggest there is no reason to stop snoozing in the morning if you enjoy it, and may even help those with morning drowsiness to be slightly more awake once they get up.

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

A healthy diet will reduce your risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. But did you know the right foods can also protect your eyesight?

The macula sits at the centre of the retina at the back of your eye, and is responsible for detailed central vision. Macular disease is a leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss in developed countries, with an estimated 200 million people affected worldwide, according to the US National Institute of Health. Studies show that diet can help reduce the risk of macular disease, including macular degeneration.

What nutrients do we need for good eye health, and where do we find them?

1. Lutein and zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that play a specialised role in your vision, as they are found in high concentrations in a healthy retina. Get more of these nutrients in your diet by eating dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, watercress and silverbeet. They are also found in peas, lettuce, pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, corn and eggs.

2. Omega-3s

These essential fatty acids are important to eye health and often recommended to help manage macular degeneration and dry eye disease. The best sources are fish and seafood, including oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, and shellfish such as crab, mussels and oysters. Aim to eat fish or seafood (fresh, frozen or canned) two to three times a week. Although they are not as rich a source as seafood, some plant foods also contain Omega 3s, including walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and canola oil.

3. Other nutrients

Other nutrients that support your eye health are:

  • Vitamin E – protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals. You will find vitamin E in nuts, seeds, wheatgerm, sweet potatoes and wholegrains.
  • Vitamin C – may lower the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of macular degeneration. To get your daily dose of vitamin C, add oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit, berries, capsicum and tomatoes to your diet.
  • Zinc – the eye contains high levels of zinc, which is important for good night vision and reducing your risk of cataracts. Get zinc in your diet from red meat, oysters and other shellfish, nuts and seeds.