Taking the Heat out of the Heat Wave

Taking the Heat out of the Heat Wave
Claudette Pelletier-Hannah

As my air-conditioned gym is a casualty of Covid-19 I’m struggling with the logistics and energy to work out. My used-to-be-very-cold basement is no longer. As I write, the temperature outside sits at 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). The inside temp is not much better.

I’m a limp noodle. You too?

If you were thinking this is the week you were finally going to get serious about your fitness, you might want to hold off for a bit. Of course if you have an air-conditioned space to be active, or if you’re an early riser you will always be better off finding the resolve to get or stay fit.

Diet, sleep and exercise, three core elements of self-care, are all challenged during this heat wave. We don’t want to cook, or even eat. We want special bevvies and beer that are not conducive to good health, and sleeping can be difficult in a home that doesn’t cool down at night.

The good news
It won’t last. Remember the 30 below zero temps of last winter?

Survival Strategies for Eating, Sleeping and Exercising during a Heat Wave

  • Eat light, cold food. Fruit and leafy greens are more appetizing than a big, hot meal and are easier to digest.
  • Drink lots of water. Water is much better for you than sugary drinks or alcohol that taste great at the moment but actually make you feel worse in the long run, due to resulting dehydration. Flavoured with cucumbers, mint, lemon or strawberries, water is very satisfying. It’s also essential as we sweat. Drink more than you think you need.
  • Soak your feet in cold water before bed, or put a cold cloth on your forehead, neck or feet so you can get to sleep.
  • Get a hotel room if you’re desperate for sleep. It’s cheaper than installing air conditioning. Sleep in your basement, if you have one. Pitch a tent in the back yard. Sleep alone.
  • Modify your physical activity to a low or moderate level. Early morning is ideal, particularly if you’re going to be outdoors. Definitely stay out of the midday sun. Mall walking in the evening is a good option as the stores are closing early and you can enjoy the air conditioning. Some movement will feel better than no movement. Listen to your body.

The bad news
Like me, you might be feeling badly about being so ineffective right now. With my puffy ankles, sausage toes and messy house I’m just anxious for this time and discomfort to pass.

Dish yourself some self-compassion. Modify your expectations and your to-do list. This time will pass. It’s summer, after all. Aren’t we supposed to work less? Let’s also be grateful for the many days we are perfectly comfortable in our homes and workspaces.