Exercising and Staying Cool in this Summer Heat

There’s being cool, and there’s staying cool – and it turns out they are two very separate things! If you have been plopping down near the AC and aren’t getting your exercise in, we are talking to you! We know it’s been a very hot and humid summer, so experts at our independent senior living community in Sussex County put together this list of tips on staying cool this summer while you get your workout in!

First and foremost, we always recommend speaking to your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program. Even if a program is marketed towards seniors or beginners, we urge you to confirm with your doctor. Once the doctor gives you the green light, we suggest the following precautions.

  1. Stay hydrated. It’s common for seniors to feel less thirsty as they age, so it’s essential to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Drink water before, during, and after your workout, as well as throughout the day. It helps if you make drinking water a part of your routine, like when you first wake up in the morning and with each meal. In the summer months especially, we urge you not to leave the house without your trusty water bottle!
  2. Avoid exercising between 10am-2pm when the sun is strongest. We recommend exercising shortly after you wake up, the earlier the better! It’s less humid and hot from 5am to about 8am. If you’re not a morning person, we suggest exercising in the evening when the sun is starting to go down, as the humidity will go down with it.
  3. Stay in the shade. If you choose to exercise outside, we recommend staying in the shade. Try taking an easy walking path through a wooded area or a shaded park. Staying in the shade as much as possible is a best practice for seniors whether exercising or relaxing outdoors.
  4. Break up your exercise. If you normally take a thirty minute walk, you could break it up into three 10 minute walks or even two 15 minute walks so you don’t overexert yourself in the heat.  Research shows that short bursts of exercise spread throughout the day are just as effective as longer sessions.
  5. Use the buddy system. Exercise is safer and more enjoyable with a friend! If you’re heading out for a walk in the woods, bringing someone along with you is highly recommended.
  6. Water exercises. Most gyms, or activity centers offer water aerobics, which is a great way to beat the summer heat! If you’re not interested in a group class, swimming in itself is a great workout.
  7. Protect your skin from the sun. You should be using sunscreen anytime you’ll be out in the sun for extended periods. Don’t forget to re-apply, especially after swimming or working up a good sweat.. We also recommend wearing protective clothing like a large sunhat and sunglasses.
  8. Eat some ice cream. That’s right, it’s a tasty treat that will help keep you cool in the summer heat! If you’re a Bristol Glen resident, you know downtown Newton is just a five- minute drive away and has a few great options for ice cream. Our favorite is Hayek’s Market!

Heat Illness Symptoms to Know

As a final precaution to summer sun safety, we recommend being aware of symptoms related to heat induced illnesses so you know what to look for. The following symptoms can be a cause for concern. If you are experiencing any of these, get yourself indoors to a cool location and contact a medical professional immediately. The symptoms include, but are not limited to: headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, muscle cramps or pains, clammy pale skin, or hot and dry skin, heavy sweating, and a fast or weak pulse.

Sun Safety at UMC at Bristol Glen

Any senior resident at Bristol Glen can tell you there are numerous local walking paths and hikes that are shaded – which make for great spots to get your exercise in! Additionally, our associates understand how harmful the summer sun can be to seniors who are not properly protected. That’s why they take extra precautions with our assisted living residents during these hot weather months, especially when there are a lot of fun outdoor activities planned!

For more information about our assisted living support services in Sussex County, call us today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/bristolglen/

This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/bristolglen/blog/exercising-and-staying-cool-in-this-summer-heat/

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