As we hit the warmer months of the Australian Summer, many of us are tempted to just give our exercise regime a miss and have a rest day. And whilst I am a great advocate of rest when combined with regular physical activity, the challenge arises when we are in the middle of a heat wave and that rest day turns into a rest week or two or longer.
So how can you keep your cool and still be active in the midst of a heat wave?
The biggest challenge in exercising when it is hot is keeping your body temperature down and your fluid intake up. Yes, we’re on about Water again and that’s because it is just so important to leading a healthy lifestyle!
When you exercise, particularly in the heat, you lose fluids through sweat. If you’re planning to exercise, plan to manage your water intake too by:
- Ensuring your body is fully hydrated prior to the event or activity.
Typically this means that urine is clear or very pale in colour. If you work in an air-conditioned office or work place the air-conditioning can dehydrate your body without you realizing it and if you’re working outside then you really need to up your water intake just to stay hydrated. When you add in exercise as part of your health and wellness activities, you really need to be conscious of how much fluid you are losing and need to replace before you exercise
- Taking every opportunity to drink some water during the event or activity. Even if it’s only a few sips, waiting until you are thirsty often means you are already dehydrated. Some sports drinks or vitamin waters are useful for topping up during exercise but always read the label to ensure you are not just overdosing on kilojoules or sugar
- Planning post activity fluid replacement. The amount of water required to replenish your body’s stores depends upon the activity and duration but a rule of thumb often recommended is to drink a litre of water for every hour of activity once the activity is complete or keep re-hydrating until urine is clear or pale in colour
Our Tip: When it comes to pre-event hydration, particularly if your event or activity is in the morning, it’s a great idea to ensure you get plenty of fluids into you the day before the event or activity rather than just starting once you get out of bed on the morning of the event.