Launching Australia’s updated Guidelines for Preventing Heat Illness in Sport, Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop said today that vigorous and sustained exercise could place people at risk of heat illness – a risk that increases in hot weather.

Most people recover quickly from heat illness. But, if untreated, it can lead to heat stroke and even death.

“Medical advice suggests that you stop or slow down if you feel unwell, especially in hot weather – therefore exercise in the cooler parts of the day and wear a wide-brimmed hat and light, loose clothes. Drink two glasses of water in the two hours before exercise and drink a little cool water several times if exercising longer than an hour,” Ms Bishop said.

“The ‘occasional athlete’ faces the greatest risk. New research shows fewer Australians are taking part in regular sport or physical activity. Often people go without exercise for months – then, in the hotter months, return to do too much exercise too soon and risk heat illness.”

“Most of the advice in the new Guidelines for Preventing Heat Illness in Sport involves simple rules of common sense and following this advice should result in more enjoyable, pain free and sustained exercise activity for everyone.”

At the launch, AIS Volleyball player Nick Goldsborough-Reardon, supported the Minister’s call for sensible exercise by saying, “this advice is equally as important for those who exercise once or twice a week, as for professional athletes.”

Australia’s updated Guidelines for Preventing Heat Illness in Sport have been researched and written collaboratively by Sports Medicine Australia members. They include professionals who have trained elite athletes, members of the defence forces and sports people from Australia’s hottest climates.

The Guidelines were funded with a $55,000 grant from the Australian Government to promote the well being of Australians through safe physical activity. The project also funded an updated set of Guidelines for Medical Screening Before Participation in Physical Activity – also launched today. Both sets of guidelines and a Beat the Heat brochure are available at www.sma.org.au.

‘Heat danger’ web sites are being created by the Bureau of Meteorology. The first web site is available for Western Australia at www.bom.gov.au/products/IDW65100.shtml.