Senior Safety Tips for Outdoor Summer Activity

Posted 28 June 2019 by Mike Smeltzer, ACSM EP-C

Summa Health Wellness Center - Michael Smeltzer

With summer upon us, you may be looking for any reason to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather. Which includes exercising outside. However, for older adults this comes with an added risk for heat related-illnesses. Individuals over the age of 60 have a decreased ability to regulate their body temperature thus leading to an increased risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and even heat stroke. To limit your risk, keep your structured exercise inside during the summer months. If you must be outside, follow these rules to limit your risks:

  1. Make sure you are properly hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after your time outside.
  2. Dress in loose clothing and avoid layering.
  3. Avoid being outside when the heat or humidity is excessive. Tune in to your local weather service for heat advisory warnings.
  4. Get it done early. The afternoons are often the hottest part of the day thus producing the greatest risk for heat exhaustion.
  5. Limit your time in direct sunlight. Instead, look for opportunities to be in the shade or a cooler environment.
  6. Know the signs and symptoms of heat related-illnesses. If you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms, get out of the heat immediately and find somewhere air conditioned to cool off.
    • Heavy sweating
    • Faintness or dizziness
    • Weak, rapid pulse
    • Muscle cramps
    • Extreme thirst
    • Headache
    • Nausea or vomiting

Taking your physical activity outdoors can be quite rewarding; however, you should know your limits. By keeping your planned exercise routine indoors, it will allow you to stay cooler yielding better performance and fewer complications.