Summer greetings from the Wizard of Youth. Let’s talk about exercising and how to keep the body cool during warmer weather, and
let’s begin with a basic overview that the Mayo Clinic recommends:
- Watch the temperature.
- Get acclimated.
- Know your fitness level.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Dress appropriately.
- Avoid midday sun.
- Wear sunscreen.
- Have a back up plan.
- And understand your medical risks.
(Please read the full article, which also covers information on heat related illnesses: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048167)
The Wizards Summer 5’s:
The above list from the Mayo Clinic is an important list and is what the entire population needs, however once you’re a little older, there are a few great additional ideas that will help you stay cool and safe in the hot weather; here are my Wizards Summer 5’s exercise tips:
- When you go outside, on bright days, wear some kind of sunglasses: In the summer, when the sun is bright, the reflection from the ground back to our eyes is especially strong. This can interfere with our ability to see clearly. I have seen many people trip over cracks in sidewalks and hit bumps due to squinting in bright sunlight. Please prevent a fall.
- Please breathe more deeply and relax while exercising in hotter weather: Here is a common mistake that I see: I am working outside with an older person on a hot day, and we both spot a shady spot beneath a tree. The person I am then with says, “Let’s go under that tree for some shade!” And then they proceed to hold their breath and speed up their walk to make it into the shade… Of course I have to remind them to breathe deeply, and not to hold the breath to get through the activity. Heat can make us uncomfortable, and holding the breath is a reflexive action when something becomes difficult, yet holding the breath while trying to walk on a hot day is a recipe for disaster, so breathe, breathe, breathe! Learn to relax to get through difficult activities.
- The hotter the weather, the slower the exercise: If we were to say you are the hare in the winter, please be the tortoise in the summer. Get the word ‘time’ out of your head in hot weather; it’s not about how far and how fast you go when you do your exercises, it’s about that you are disciplined enough to do them. So SLOW down in the heat, or the heat will slow you down…
- If you’re outside, wear a cool hat: Yes, a hat is hot, but it’s better to keep the bright sun off the sensitive skin on your scalp. Wear something cool, and certainly take it off in the shade. You don’t need another sunburn on your scalp or the doctor burning off another skin growth…
- Take a bottle of water with you: There isn’t any reason not to do this anymore with the ease of availability of bottled water everywhere. You can easily find a small bottle to go in your pocket, and mix in some electrolytes for flavor and an energetic pick me up (check with your doctor on electrolytes). Water helps, and most of us don’t drink enough.
There you go. Certainly don’t exercise when it’s too hot, be careful, and include your doctor in the conversation. There are lots of drugs that don’t work with your body and heat in combination, and there are medical conditions that you can’t push through. But we can work around many things and keep going! Yet please read up on the common signs of heat related illnesses; you could save another life besides your own. Best of blessings to you from the Wizard; stay cool!
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact him at John@wizardofyouth.com, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org