Exercise Safely in the Heat
Summer in Australia is a great time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine whilst increasing your health and fitness. However exercising at this time of year can pose some dangers, particularly with scorching temperatures. So with the hottest part of the year upon us in Melbourne, we thought we would share with you some tips on how to stay safe when exercising in the heat this summer.
1. Slip Slop Slap!
For those of us who have grown up in Australia we have always heard this message since we were kids! But it is always important to be reminded of being sun smart when exercising outdoors, especially during summer. Make sure you wear good quality sunscreen (at least SPF 30+) and if your activity involves water such as swimming or kayaking, make sure you chose a waterproof option. Appropriate clothing is also important to protect against skin damage and overheating. Selecting light, breathable and UV protective clothing which covers large areas of skin is recommended especially when exercising outdoors for long periods such as hiking or cycling.
2. Stay Hydrated
Adequate fluid intake before, during and after exercise is always important, but even more so during the warmer months as we are likely to lose more fluid during exercise due to increased sweating. To avoid dehydration, Sports Medicine Australia recommends drinking 2 cups (500ml) of water in the two hours prior to exercise and for exercise lasting longer than one hour drink 2-3 cups (500-750ml) of water every hour. Fluid intake is also important to keep our core temperature down and prevent overheating in hot conditions.
3. Exercise At Cooler Times Of Day
Exercise involving moderate to high intensities should be performed at the coolest part of the day such as early in the morning or in the evening to avoid some of the risks associated with exercising in extreme heat.
4. Exercise Indoors
When temperatures are extreme, exercising in an alternative environment should be considered where possible. This could include going to a gym and running on a treadmill in an air conditioned environment rather than running outside.
Written By Jack Hickey
Exercise Physiologist at MD Health Pilates