In some climates, wintery weather makes it hard to get outside for daily exercise. But here in Arizona, the summer months pose a challenge to outdoor activities. The average summer highs in Phoenix are over 100 degrees, and even the lows only dip to the 80s. That hot weather makes it dangerous to do any physical exercise outside during the peak of the day, and seniors are especially at risk. However, regular exercise is just as crucial to staying physically and mentally healthy in the summer as it is in the winter. Here are a few tips for staying active during the summer while avoiding the health risks of intense heat.
The Dangers of Hot Weather For Seniors
Getting too hot has several health risks, and seniors are at a greater risk of severe complications. Even without engaging in serious physical activity, older people may experience symptoms such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion. If left untreated, these symptoms can develop into heat stroke. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous and requires immediate medical attention. Seniors are especially in danger of serious heat-related side effects.
If you or a senior in your life begins to feel dizzy, thirsty, weak, or nauseous, seek shade and drink water immediately. If the symptoms progress to the point where a person stops sweating, is confused, faints, and has a temperature over 104°F, seek medical help immediately. It’s important to remember that most people who die from heat stroke are over the age of 50. Rather than ignoring the warning signs of heat-related illness, be proactive by avoiding the heat in the first place.
Safe Activities for Hot Weather
Of course, the hot weather doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising entirely. After all, it’s healthy to get some time outside and a little light exercise on a daily basis. Luckily, there are many ways to stay safe in the summer without sacrificing your activity.
Exercise in the Mornings or Evenings
One of the best ways to continue outdoor exercise during the hottest parts of the year is to limit any exertion to the times of day when the temperature is more bearable. Early mornings and dusk are likely to be cooler, and therefore safer for exercising. In a similar vein, it’s best to plan on being indoors with air conditioning during the hottest parts of the day. Going to a senior center, library, movie theater, or mall can provide relief if your home doesn’t have a cooling system that can keep the temperature comfortable.
Stick to the Shade
When it comes to outdoor activities, anywhere that protects you from the sun’s heat is preferable. A tree-lined path or park, an avenue with shade provided by buildings, or another source of protection will help keep the heat from becoming immediately dangerous. It can also provide valuable protection from the sun’s UV rays.
Take Indoor Walks
Walking is an excellent exercise to promote both physical and mental health. If waking up early or staying out late isn’t your cup of tea, it doesn’t mean you have to give up daily walks for a few months every year. There are often many places where you can take a long stroll without leaving the comfort of air conditioning. Shopping malls are large, indoor complexes that are always air-conditioned and can provide a perfect space to get moving during the heat of the day. Gyms and senior centers sometimes have indoor tracks where you can stretch your legs. And if you’d like a bit of culture with your exercise, you can even go for a walk around your local museum.
Go for a Swim
Swimming is an excellent way to have fun, get some exercise, and stay cool in the summer. However, remember that it’s entirely possible to overheat in an outdoor swimming pool, even if the water helps mask the sun’s effects. Take frequent breaks in the shade and limit outdoor swimming to avoid heat exhaustion. The best option is to find an indoor swimming pool where you can do a few laps in total safety.
Though certain activities can help you stay safe from the sun, it’s important to remember that heat stroke can happen at any time, even when you’re not actively exercising. During the summer, it’s important to monitor yourself for any signs that your body is overheating. Always carry water and use sunscreen to protect yourself from skin cancer and other sun damage. When exercising in the summer, you should also aim to do so with at least one other person to help keep an eye out for concerning symptoms and get you help if you need it. An in-home caregiver is an excellent companion for older people exercising in the summer.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.