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Beat the heat to avoid summer burnout

By Christie Melhorn, August 3 2017 —

After Calgary’s brutal winter, you may want to spend as much time outside as possible during the current heat wave. However, it’s easy to overdo it under the sun. The following tips will prevent you from passing out at 8 p.m. on Friday after one beer because of heat exhaustion.


We lose a ton of electrolytes when we sweat. Drink extra water before going out for an extended period of time. If you get headachey and dizzy, guzzle more water than you think is necessary.

For a fast fix, have your favourite flavour of Gatorade or Powerade on hand. The salt and sugar content will stabilize your hydration levels but be mindful of your sugar intake for the rest of the day. Excessive quantities of sugar will amplify your discomfort and trigger a severe crash. I recommend trying a lemon or orange Vitamin Water Zero — it resurrected me after I got heat stroke in Florida this past spring. They’re refreshing and sit more lightly since they have less weird chemical flavours than sports performance drinks. Skip your afternoon coffee or turn down another glass of wine if you feel queasy. The caffeine and alcohol will only dehydrate you more.

Eat well

Spending time in the heat tends to suppress appetite. Fuel up in the morning with a fat- and protein-heavy breakfast, like avocado and eggs with some fruit and veggies. This will offer a generous energy pump and sustain you if you can only stomach something light later on. Steer clear of heavy doses of carbs and sugar to avoid the subsequent dip in energy and lightheadedness.

Seek shade  

Break up time outside by chilling out in a patch of shade or going indoors. This will give your body a break from trying to keep cool on its own and gives you a reason to go on a Starbucks run — ideally for something low in sugar and caffeine!

Wear loose clothes

Wearing your best shirt or favourite pair of jeans on a sweltering day is uncomfortable and will make you resent those beloved items. Avoid ruining your clothes and your mood by wearing something loose and airy. This is the perfect time to take advantage of the boxy shirt trend that never seems to fade.

Use sunscreen

Up until maybe a year ago, I would ignore suggestions to put on sunscreen. I tan generously, but not even the nicest tan is worth risking skin cancer or sun damage. Wear sunscreen that provides protection in heat that is at least 10 degrees higher than the temperature outside. And that shimmery Hawaiian tropic stuff that smells really good and promises a bronze glow will only give you a coppery sunburn.  

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