With its warmer, longer days, summer is the perfect time to head outdoors, but with plenty of days of extreme heat still to come this season, it’s important to take precautions to stay healthy when getting active
Exercising in Queensland’s hot and humid conditions can not only be uncomfortable, it can rapidly raise your body’s core temperature, increasing your risk of heat-related illnesses.
Queenslanders need to exercise regularly to stay healthy – 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity or 60 minutes of moderate physical every day is the recommendation – so, here are six tips from Cancer Council Queensland to help you keep your cool while you get active this summer!
One, hydrate. Water is one of the most important components of our bodies, aiding our digestion, circulation, brain function and temperature control. Therefore, staying well hydrated is a must all year round, but particularly in summer, as we sweat and lose water at a faster rate. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommends an average person should drink at least two litres of water daily. Ensure you keep up your water intake throughout the day, particularly after exercising and/or excessive sweating.
Two, plan your exercise times. Avoid exercising in the hottest parts of the day, which are usually from 10am – 3pm. You will stay much cooler if you set your alarm for an early morning workout or wait until the late afternoon or early evening to exercise.
Three, dress accordingly. Keep your workout gear loose and light. Tight clothing and thicker materials can amp up the sweat factor, potentially leading to dehydration.
Four, stay SunSmart. Not only does sunburn and UV damage increase the risk skin cancer, it also prevents the body from cooling down properly. Be sure to apply SPF30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors. A broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses are a must when it comes to sun protection as well. Where possible, try to exercise in a shaded area.
Five, alter your workouts. If the weather is too extreme to go for your afternoon run, seek out alternative workouts. Swimming is an excellent summer exercise, or you can try exercising indoors where there’s air-conditioning, such as a gym or studio. If you do really love running, you can trade in the hot roads for shaded park runs instead.
Six, listen to your body. If you start noticing symptoms such as muscle cramps, extreme sweating, dizziness, headache, weakness or fatigue, you could be suffering from heat exhaustion and you should end your workout. Give your body a well-earned rest in a cool area and replenish with water. Continuing to exercise through these symptoms could result in the much more serious condition of heat stroke.
At least one third of all cancer cases can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, such as being physically active, so it’s important all Queenslanders strive towards developing healthy habits to help lower their cancer risk.
To help Queenslanders make the healthy choice, the easy choice – Queenslanders can get involved with Cancer Council’s free cancer prevention program, QUEST.
With resources and tools to help reduce cancer risk, QUEST is free for organisations or community groups, big or small. Visit www.quest.org.au to find out more.