Stay healthy, keep your cool and enjoy the Queensland Summer. Summer in Queensland is the perfect time to get out and enjoy everything this beautiful part of the world has to offer. With things starting to heat up, it’s a good idea that we contemplate how to stay healthy and active this summer. This guide will help you to enjoy the summer months safely wherever you are.

We all know that we are meant to get around 30 minutes of vigorous exercise or around 60 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Exercising in hot or humid conditions can place the body under a lot of stress which can lead to rapid dehydration and even heat stroke.
Here are some helpful hints on how to get your daily exercise safely this summer.

Stay hydrated
Drink small amounts of water regularly throughout the day. It is recommended that we drink around 2 litres of water per day and if we are exercising this needs to be increased. Get in the habit of keeping a refillable water bottle with you at all times. Alcohol and caffeine can cause you to urinate more often. So, either limit consumption of these or continue to hydrate with water when drinking them.

Be sun safe
Queensland is considered to be the skin cancer capital of the world, so being sun safe is paramount to good health. Most of us are aware of the cancer council’s original sun protection programme:Slip, Slop, Slap. This has since been increased to include Seek and Slide.

So the advice now is to…

Slip on a shirt: consider a long sleeve 50+ swim shirt when at the beach, even on cloudy days.

Slop on a carefully selected sunscreen: not all sunscreens are the same, ask your natural health expert or pharmacist about what’s best for your skin type (This is the sunscreen Hayley uses and recommends if you’d like to check it out).

Slap on a hat: Go for a broad brimmed hat that covers the neck and ears and is breathable to help keep you cool, seek shade wherever possible, if you’re spending a day at the beach, consider taking a portable cabana (there’s some great ones available these days that are cheap and compact), and slide on a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Remember to reapply sunscreen every couple of hours and more often when swimming and to avoid being out in the sun between 10am and 3pm when UV levels peak.

Acclimatise
Don’t just go rushing into high intensity workouts in hot or humid weather until you have first become acclimatised. Start of with short low intensity workouts and gradually increase them over a few weeks. Give yourself a chance to build resilience in the hotter weather.

Find a cooler way to workout
Going for a 10km run in the middle of the day during summer is not recommended, but there are other ways you can exercise and keep your body temperature at a safe level. Swimming is a great way to work every muscle in the body and is one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can do. If swimming isn’t quite your thing, how about going to the local pool and just walking up and down the length of the pool? The water offers great resistance and also protection from jarring joints. Give it a go, it really works.
Plan your workouts in the morning or afternoon instead of through the heat of the day or perhaps enrol in a gym that is air-conditioned.

Know your limits
Be sure to listen to your body. If you begin to feel nauseous, tired, dizzy or light headed, take a break and cool down. Heat stress and dehydration are very dangerous and can creep up on you quite suddenly. Stay in touch with how you feel, keep hydrated, stay cool, wear light clothing and take regular breaks.

Summer in Queensland can be a wonderful time of year if you prepare yourself for it. Seek out activities where you can have fun, get some exercise and most importantly stay cool. Take advantage of the incredibly diverse range of tropical fruits and vegetables we have available to us. Prepare refreshing salads and fruit platters or make frozen fruit ice blocks to have as snacks, because our food can help to keep us hydrated also.

Have a fun, safe and healthy summer everyone – Stay Cool!

Author: Pete Welsh