Stay Active This Summer: Tips & Precautions
Stay Active This Summer!
Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of daily physical activity. Seniors who stay active can achieve a higher level of independence, a better-functioning mind and body, and improved moods. Safely increasing duration, intensity and frequency of physical activity can result in greater health benefits. Stronger muscles help reduce the risk of falling and improve the ability to perform the routine tasks of daily life.
The Alzheimer’s Society says: ‘Whether it is going for a jog or walking the golf course, keeping physically active is a great way to keep your heart and your brain healthy. By keeping active you make sure your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential to help it function better now and in future.”
Summertime is a great season to head outdoors. However, it’s important to keep in mind the risks associated with exercising in hot summer weather. Overheating and heat exhaustion can be a concern for everyone, particularly aging adults. Consider the following ideas and precautions when tackling your fitness regime this summer.
Summer Safe(r) Fitness Ideas
Swimming is a full body workout that can help you beat the heat. It’s an exercise that allows you to work out in a cool and refreshing environment. Additionally, the pool water’s buoyancy counteracts the force of gravity, making swimming an ideal low-impact workout that puts little stress on your joints and bones. Lastly, it’s a great way to increase endurance, improve posture, and, improve coordination.
Yoga is a great activity for older adults as it can be practiced at an individual’s physical ability level. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, practicing yoga can help work the small muscles in your body while building stamina, increasing your strength and increasing flexibility. If you’re a beginner, be sure to start by working with a certified yoga instructor and/or taking a class to ensure that your alignment is correct.
Golfing is a safe, low impact exercise that can increase strength, flexibility and social skills, and can even help with brain stimulation. If you’re able to, ditch the golf cart—it provides the added fitness benefit of carrying your bags and walking from hole to hole. Lastly, look for golf courses that have trees for shade and air conditioned club houses to escape the heat as needed.
Start drinking water early and often. Make sure to drink liquids before, during, and after a workout to prevent muscle cramping and heart-related illness caused by dehydration. The American Heart Association (AHA) says if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so drink often! The AHA recommends drinking water over any other beverage, as other beverages can contain added sugars and calories. Bored with water? Try adding some fruit for a light natural flavor. Lastly, the AHA says staying hydrated is imperative whether you’re exercising or not, so be sure to incorporate drink breaks in your everyday routines.
Don’t forget you can get a portion of your water intake from foods! Incorporating hydrating foods into your diet is a great way to help replenish your fluids. Health.com posted a slideshow of foods that are 90% water by weight. Review the list here to start incorporating these foods into your diet.
Avoid Excessive Exercise
Extreme levels of physical activity can result in injury. If you have a more sedentary lifestyle and are looking to increase your activity levels, you should start with short intervals of moderate physical activity (5-10 minutes) and gradually build up to the desired amount. If you experience overheating, dizziness, or light-headedness, you should stop immediately. Everyone should consult with a physician before beginning a new physical activity program.
Remember the Sunscreen
Sunscreen is critical. You should apply a shot-glass size amount about 30 minutes before you leave the house, and should reapply sunscreen every two hours When you purchase sunscreen, make sure it:
- is water-resistant, broad-spectrum,
- protects against UVA (ultraviolet short-wave)
- protects against UVB (ultraviolet long-wave)
- has an SPF or sun protection factor of 30 or higher
AgingCare.com recommends paying special attention to hands, feet, bald spots and lips.
If you tend to forget about reapplying sunblock, pick up a reminder accessory. These helpful tools change color after a few hours in sunlight and come in a variety of options like color-change bracelets, sunglasses or flip-flops. If you’re looking for something a little more discreet, a little stick-on UV patch that changes color from nude to red as the sunlight gets stronger.
A Few More Tips
Timing is a factor! Try to avoid the midday heat by sticking to early morning or evening workouts. This can help you avoid some of the sun’s harmful rays during the hottest time of the day.
Dress for the weather. Dress in light, loose fitting clothing that will help keep your body cool. Loose clothing allows air to pass along the skin and exit, speeding evaporation and carrying off excess heat.
Overall it’s important to establish a workout routine that is catered to your goals, your personal strengths and weaknesses and that is in tandem with your doctor’s recommendations.
There are major benefits to exercising and absorbing some Vitamin D from the sun. Make sure do to it safely this summer!
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