Walking is an excellent form of exercise for seniors. Walking promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and improves overall well-being. It also improves circulation. And it can help seniors maintain a healthy weight.
However, when the weather is extremely warm, it’s important for older adults to take extra precautions to ensure their safety and comfort. Here are some essential hot weather walking tips specifically tailored for seniors, allowing them to stay active while minimizing the risks associated with high temperatures.
Choose the Right Time
Plan your walks during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid being outside in the hottest part of the day. This reduces the risk of heat-related illnesses and allows seniors to enjoy their walking more. Seniors who are walking their dog should remember to slow their pace down a bit so their dog doesn’t get overheated.
When the weather is warm seniors should choose lightweight clothes that aren’t too binding or tight. The best summer exercise clothes for seniors are cotton tee shirts or other clothing made from cotton. Cotton fabrics provide air flow that will help keep seniors dry.
Seniors should wear light-colored attire that reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them. It’s also smart to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Seniors with home care can ask their home care provider to help them put on sunscreen.
Whenever seniors go for a walk they should bring water with them. But when the temperature is warm seniors may want to bring a sports drink because they will be sweating a lot. Seniors should be drinking water or a sports drink before they start walking and after they finish walking.
Choose Shaded Routes
Seniors should walk in the woods, by water, or on paths that offer shade as much as possible. Paths with tree-lined streets, parks, or trails that provide natural shade will help seniors stay cool. This helps reduce direct exposure to the sun, making your walk more enjoyable and safer.
Seniors should walk a little slower in the heat. Take breaks if needed, finding shaded areas to rest and cool down. Overexertion can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Seniors may need to shorten their walking time on really hot days.
Watch Out For Heat Stroke
Seniors and their elder care providers should be familiar with the symptoms of heat-related illnesses. If seniors develop dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, headache, or confusion they should get medical help right away.
On particularly hot days, consider walking indoors instead. Look for indoor walking tracks, shopping malls, or community centers that offer safe and air-conditioned environments for walking. This provides a comfortable alternative when outdoor conditions are dangerously hot.
Check The Forecast
Before heading out for a walk, check the local weather forecast to be aware of any heat advisories or excessive heat warnings. If conditions are extreme, it may be best to postpone your walk or explore indoor exercise options instead.