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Posted July 10, 2023 by Mike Smeltzer, ACSM EP-C
With summer in full swing, you may be looking for any reason to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Which includes exercising outside.
However, for older adults this comes with an added risk for heat related-illnesses. Individuals over the age of 60 have a decreased ability to regulate their body temperature thus leading to an increased risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and even heat stroke. To limit your risk, keep your structured exercise inside during the summer months.
To ensure your safety, consider these tips when engaging in outdoor activities:
Prior to, during, and after your time outside, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Proper hydration is essential for combating the effects of heat.
Opt for loose-fitting clothing and avoid wearing too many layers. This allows for better air circulation and helps regulate body temperature.
Avoid being outside during periods of excessive heat or humidity. Stay informed by tuning in to your local weather service for heat advisory warnings.
The afternoons tend to be the hottest part of the day, posing the greatest risk for heat-related issues. Plan your outdoor activities for the cooler morning hours to minimize the chance of heat exhaustion.
Limit your direct exposure to sunlight by finding shaded areas or cooler environments. This can significantly reduce the risk of overheating.
Educate yourself on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. If you experience heavy sweating, faintness or dizziness, a weak and rapid pulse, muscle cramps, extreme thirst, headache, or nausea/vomiting, immediately seek shelter in an air-conditioned space to cool down.
Taking your physical activity outdoors can be quite rewarding; however, you should know your limits. By keeping your planned exercise routine indoors, it will allow you to stay cooler yielding better performance and fewer complications.
If you’re looking for a place to escape the heat, check out the programs available at the Summa Health Wellness Center.