Written by experts in physical activity research and evaluation at VicHealth Last updated: 10 Jan, 2020

Many of us want to build or maintain a certain level of fitness, especially in January with New Year’s resolutions.

But as with anything in life, context is everything.

While regular physical activity is one of the most important factors in promoting good health and preventing chronic disease, the health dangers of breathing in bushfire smoke or extreme heat can make being active outdoors challenging.

The Australian Institute of Sport has created a guide on smoke pollution and exercise  to help people decide the safest way to stay active when air pollution levels are affected by bushfires in the region.

And the good news is that even when the great outdoors is not so great, you can still exercise inside where it’s safe to do so (filtered air helps), or plan around weather events by scheduling rest days.

Below are some tips for indoor activities so you can stay active in summer and year-round.

Three indoor activity ideas for when it’s too hot, or there’s bushfire smoke in the air

  1. Indoor gym session
    Break a sweat in a centre that controls air temperature and quality. Call ahead to ask about the air quality if unsure.

  2. Indoor pool
    Enjoy the water and coming up for air that’s cool and filtered between strokes. Call ahead to ask about the air quality if unsure.

  3. Exercise video at home or a friend or relative’s place
    Choose from the many free exercise videos available online and follow along from your lounge room or someone else’s. Some tips to keep your home environment safe from smoke are in Bushfire smoke and your health, a factsheet from the Department of Health and Human Services.

During our hot Victorian summer it’s important to understand how environmental conditions can affect your body.

Below are two short videos the Victorian Government has created to explain how smoke and heat can affect your health.

Two videos to help you navigate your health during summer

Smoke and your health

Survive the heat

If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL 1300 60 60 24. Anyone having trouble breathing or chest pain should seek urgent medical assistance – call 000.