Summer exercise safety

WITH summer here, those who are active need to prepare for hot weather conditions or risk heat injury, warns Sports Medicine Australia.

Being active in hot or humid conditions can lead to dehydration, heat illness and sometimes the more serious consequence of heat stroke.

Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson, Dr Anita Green, says that while physical activity is important for overall health, in the hotter months certain precautions need to be taken to avoid heat injuries.

“Heat illness is a serious matter that can result in the life-threatening condition of heat stroke, if left untreated. While people need to exercise regularly to stay healthy, they should take certain precautions if exercising in a hot or humid environment,” said Dr Green.

“Those exercising need to know what can contribute to heat illness, such as high air temperature, heavy clothing, high humidity, lack of fitness and high exercise intensity. They should also know the symptoms of heat illness – light-headedness, nausea, headache, confusion, not sweating, and aggressive or irrational behaviour.

“Knowing how to prepare for heat illness, what causes it and what to look out for will help to avoid it,” said Dr Green.

Children are at a greater risk as their bodies respond less efficiently to heat, feel hotter and have greater difficulty getting rid of heat from their body.


  • Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during and after exercise.
  • Schedule activity to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Take rest breaks, in the shade if possible.
  • Wear light coloured, lightweight and loose fitting clothing that allows easy evaporation of sweat from the skin. Wear sunglasses, 30+ sunscreen and a hat.
  • Reduce the duration and intensity of a warm up to minimise an increase in body heat and temperature.
  • Do not take part in strenuous activity if you have recently experienced a high temperature, infection, diarrhoea or vomiting.
  • If you have a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, a heart problem, epilepsy or obesity, are taking medication or are pregnant; you may experience difficulties exercising in the heat. If unsure you should seek advice from a sports medicine professional.
  • Persons suffering from heat illness can recover rapidly with assistance – lie down in a cool place, remove excess clothing, wet skin or use ice packs, and drink cool water. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical assistance.

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