Wellbeing and food safety during hot weather

Exercising in hot weather

Staying healthy in hot weather may mean you have to change your exercise routine to reduce your risk of heat-related illness.

Follow these tips to reduce overheating when exercising:

  • Exercise moderately and, if you start to feel ill, slow down and stop.
  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton to let sweat evaporate more easily, helping to keep you cool.
  • Keep cool by modifying your routine such as swapping a run for a swim or working out in an air-conditioned room or gym.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise.
  • If you need to exercise outside, do it early in the day or late in the evening when the temperature is coolest and try to stay in the shade.
  • During daylight hours, wear a hat and sunglasses, and make sure you apply SPF30+ sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you go outdoors.

More information

Sleeping in hot weather

It can be more difficult to get the sleep you need when the weather is very hot or in extreme heat.

Follow these tips to sleep better when it’s hot:

  • If you have an air conditioner, put it on before you go to bed to let the room cool down.
  • Keep curtains, blinds and windows closed during the day to keep your home cool.
  • Give your body time to cool down before bed by avoiding exercise or strenuous activities at night.
  • Have a cool shower or bath just before going to bed to help bring your body temperature down.
  • Sleep in the coolest room in your home (this may not be a bedroom).
  • Limit daytime naps to early afternoon and make sure they are short.
  • If you use a fan in the bedroom, keep the door open to improve airflow.
  • Wear clothes that are breathable and made from natural fibres like cotton or linen.
  • Cool down with a wet towel or water spray bottle.

More information

Food Safety

Keeping your food safe is always important but especially in hot weather and extreme heat.
Bacteria grows much more quickly on food when conditions are hot, increasing the risk of food poisoning.

Follow these tips to keep your food safe:

  • Make sure your fridge is clean, uncluttered and set at 5°C or cooler.
  • Prepare food near to the time it is going to be served.
  • Defrost foods in the fridge or the microwave, not on the kitchen bench.
  • Put leftovers in the fridge as soon as they stop steaming.
  • Never leave food in a hot car.
  • Take insulated cooler bags to the shops to carry home chilled and frozen foods.
  • Immediately pack chilled and frozen foods in the fridge and freezer when you get home.
  • Do not leave food out for too long (never more than 2 hours out of the fridge).
  • Keep leftovers in fridge and eat within 2-3 days.

For more information about food safety and how you can prevent food poisoning, visit the Food safety webpage. 

Stay hydrated

It is easy to become overheated and dehydrated in hot weather. Drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day is the best way to avoid this.

Adult women need about 8 cups (around 2L) and adult men need about 10 cups (around 2.5L) of fluid a day. How much you need will depend on how much exercise you are doing, your weight, the medications you take and if you are breast feeding.

During hot weather and extreme heat, you may need to drink much more water to prevent the body becoming dehydrated.

Have a refillable bottle of water handy in your bag, backpack, at work and in the car and remember to avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially during hot weather and extreme heat.

The colour of your urine can tell you if you are drinking enough water, or if you are dehydrated. Follow this chart to see if you are staying hydrated.

Are you drinking enough water?

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