Stay Safe, Stay Healthy: Summer Exercise Tips for Seniors

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy: Summer Exercise Tips for Seniors

Regular exercise is vital to improved quality of life in your later years. Not only is it a mood booster and a way to have social time, but it also supports your health. Increased immunity, pain relief, bone loss prevention, and reduced risk of falls are among the physical health benefits you’ll enjoy.

However, when the weather gets hotter, it’s time to shift to a new exercise routine that keeps you safe on hot, sunny days. Read on to learn some summer exercise tips for seniors to keep you healthy and thriving.

The Dangers of Hot Weather Exertion

First, it’s essential to be aware of what could happen in hot weather if you’re pushing yourself too hard or even just exercising like you would in cooler weather. When it’s hot out, some of the risks you face include:

  • Higher risk of sunburn when you have more skin exposed to intense sun
  • Heat cramps or exhaustion, which are mild to moderate forms of hyperthermia
  • Heat stroke, a severe form of hyperthermia
  • Heat edema, or swelling in your lower legs and feet caused by the heat
  • Heat syncope, a feeling of dizziness with a fainting and fall risk

Although these conditions are serious and need immediate attention if they occur, they shouldn’t discourage you from getting up and moving each day. You simply need to make a few adjustments.

The Best Summer Exercises for Seniors

When choosing the types of exercise you want to do during the spring and summer seasons, consider how you might take advantage of the beautiful weather outdoors. You should also consider some lower-impact, gentler types of movement that keep you from overexerting yourself, whether you stay indoors or go outside.

These are some recommended types of summer exercise for seniors because they combine low impact with chances for fun in the sun:

  • Swimming or water aerobics is an obvious choice! The water cushions your joints and reduces strain on them, and a pool is a cooling delight when it’s hot out.
  • Walking is both gentle and versatile – you can power-walk or just take a light stroll, and you can either soak up nice weather outside or people-watch while walking in a cooler indoor location like a mall.
  • Yoga, including chair yoga, is great for mind, body, and spirit alike. It’s a slow-moving activity that can easily adjust to your skill level and mobility. Many towns offer morning outdoor yoga to avoid the heat.
  • Tai chi is a very slow, gentle art that improves balance and coordination, which means a lower risk of falling. At Grand Oaks, it’s one of the many group activities that promotes social time, too.
  • If you have limited space or mobility, you can still do gentle stretches, assisted balancing exercises (such as lifting one foot while holding onto a chair or railing), or lifting very light hand weights. You can do these exercises inside or outside.

Remember, a little movement goes a long way. For adults over 65, the CDC recommends about 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week as a baseline. That’s it!

Talk to your doctor about what exercise routine is right for you.

Staying Safe While You Exercise

Take a few precautions to help you enjoy your daily workout without getting overheated or sunburned. The simplest thing to do is stay inside with the AC if it’s really hot or do your outdoor movement in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.

Drink plenty of water, use lots of sun protection to keep your skin safe, and dress in cool, breathable fabrics. If you feel too hot, dizzy, cramped, or in any way unwell, get to a cool spot out of the sun, sit down, and ask for help. Don’t try to “push through.”

And if you’re wondering what the best exercise is, it’s the one you’ll actually do. So, choose something fun for you and enjoy this summer!

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