It's important to exercise all year round for good health, but
it's equally important to consider the frequency, intensity and
type of exercise you do during the warmer months.
Physical activity in hot weather puts increased stress on your
body. Exercise, along with air temperature and humidity, can
increase your core temperature and blood glucose levels. It's
important to take extra care to avoid heat-related illnesses such
as cramping, lightheadedness, dehydration, heat exhaustion and, in
severe cases, heat stroke.
Here's some tips to stay safe while exercising in the heat.
Monitor the outside
Choosing cooler times of the day to be active (eg, early morning
or late afternoon) will place less stress on your body and be much
more comfortable. Avoid exercising in the hottest part of the
Get acclimatised and take
If you're not used to exercising outdoors in hot conditions take
longer to warm up (10 to 15 mins). This will make sure your body is
better prepared before increasing intensity. By taking regular
breaks you can better monitor how hot you feel. Don't forget to
allow breaks to drink water.
Drink plenty of water:
When your body is dehydrated, blood glucose becomes more
concentrated due to the decrease in blood flow through the kidneys.
This makes it much more difficult for the kidneys to remove any
excess glucose from urine. It is also important to stay hydrated to
help your body sweat and cool down.
Monitor your blood glucose
Check your blood glucose levels before, during and after
physical activity to ensure they remain in your target range.
Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, sunscreen and a hat.
To be safe, always wear shoes, and check your feet carefully for
injuries or blisters at the end of each day.
Consider your exercise
It's a good idea to try out different exercises during the
warmer months. Swimming, aqua aerobics or walking at your local
air-conditioned shopping centre can help you stay cooler.
Protect your medication:
Heat can damage your blood glucose monitor, insulin pump and
other supplies used for managing diabetes, so it's important to
keep them out of direct sunlight.
Don't let the summer heat stop you from being physically active
- there are plenty of ways to modify your exercise regime to
participate in outdoor activities and enjoy all types of weather,
with a few precautions.
By Hayley Nicholson