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Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather, but for active seniors there are a few safety concerns to take into consideration. Many of those enjoying their golden years can spend quite a bit of time outside without realizing that they are becoming dehydrated, overheated, or at risk for sun exposure to mix badly with medication.
As we get older, it’s inevitable that our bodies can’t retain water and nutrients as well as they could during younger years, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking to any exercise or active regimen in the summertime. Get a physical and let them know what activities you enjoy doing outdoors to make sure you are in good summer shape. Some other things to keep in mind are:
Don’t let the summer heat sneak up on you. Some medications can thin the blood and make you feel cold, even during warm months, but wearing long sleeves or a thick sweater outside can be dangerous if the temperature gets high enough. Make sure you choose light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of a breathable fabric like cotton, and hats are a good idea for activities like gardening.
Biking and walking are great ways to exercise, but they are also great ways to get overheated. Don’t be afraid to take breaks often and sit in a shady area if you aren’t close to home. Always bring a water bottle with you to stay hydrated.
Sleep is important
Hot temps can make you feel worn out, so rest often in a cool area. Even if it’s just a nap in the afternoon, taking a little break can make you feel more energized and can help you stay focused, which can in turn help you recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses easily. If you or a loved one feel dizziness, nausea, confusion, weakness, or muscle cramps, get to a cool place immediately, get water, and contact a doctor.
Don’t forget sunscreen and bug spray!
No matter how much time you’ll be spending outside, sunscreen is always a good idea. You might be surprised at how sunburned you could get just from a short stint outdoors. Activities like gardening or spending time in the park can be rife with mosquitoes, and with the recent threat of the Zika virus, it’s important to take the proper precautions.
Be prepared where weather is concerned
The heat isn’t the only dangerous factor where summer is concerned; in many areas, storms can pop up seemingly out of nowhere, so it’s important to check the forecast before going out for the day so you won’t be far from home or the car should clouds start rolling in. Keep an umbrella, poncho, and flashlight in your car, and remember that if you encounter high water on the roads, turn around if possible or exit the car and get to high ground. Never try to drive over flooded areas.
Summertime can be full of fun activities and ways to stay fit, and if you remember these tips it can be safe too.
Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.