Seniors know that they need to exercise. Most family doctors tell senior patients that they should strive to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. But when temperatures soar and the humidity is high, is it safe for seniors to exercise outdoors? Yes, seniors can exercise outdoors safely. Here are a few elder care tips to do just that.
Know Your Fitness Level
Seniors should not try to push themselves when it comes to exercising in the heat. A hot day in the middle of summer is not the time for seniors to try and break through to a new fitness level. Seniors who aren’t super fit should keep their exercise light when it’s hot outside. A gentle walk, a round of golf, or swimming are all great exercise for summer days. Know how much exercise is enough and don’t go beyond that.
Exercise Early in The Day
The weather will be coolest during the early morning. That’s when seniors should try to get their exercise for the day. By about 10 A.M. the heat will kick in. Seniors should avoid exercising after about 3 P.M. That’s when the sun will be the most intense and the temperature will peak. Early evening may be cool enough to exercise also. Seniors that don’t like to get up early to exercise can usually safely exercise in the evening in the summer.
Drink Water Before, During, and After Exercising
Staying hydrated is essential. Seniors need to be drinking water before, during, and after their workout. That way they are constantly replacing any fluids that they are losing when they sweat. Sports drinks that are sugar-free are also great to drink during and after a workout. They will replace electrolytes and minerals that are lost when seniors sweat.
Take Frequent Breaks
Seniors exercising outdoors in the summer should take breaks frequently. Stop and rest for a couple of minutes. Sit on a bench. Get a drink. Taking a break for just a minute or two won’t interfere with exercise. It will help seniors avoid getting overheated and feeling dizzy. Anytime seniors feel like they are getting dizzy, confused, or weak they should stop and take a rest until they feel stronger.
Don’t Exercise Alone
When seniors exercise in summer they shouldn’t be exercising alone. Seniors who develop heat exhaustion or heat stroke may need help. Seniors can join walking clubs in the summer. Or take a fitness class outdoors in the park. Or go walking with their elder care provider. Seniors with elder care always have the support they need to be active in any weather.
Try Gentle Exercise
Walking is a gentle exercise that is great for seniors. Golf is another popular gentle exercise. Yoga and Tai Chi are great gentle exercises for seniors that are perfect for the summer. Exercises that focus on strength, flexibility, and balance are just as important as cardio.