According to the Department of “Water Is Wet and the Sky Is Blue,” Southern Florida is a hot place, especially during the summer months. But that shouldn’t keep you from getting out and staying fit during the summer months, says Rachel Henderson, Director of Community Relations of The Terraces at Bonita Springs.
“Exercise is an important part of aging well, so it’s important for seniors and older adults to continue doing things to stay fit and healthy, even if the weather is less than perfect,” she says. “Our Vitality Program at The Terraces understands the subtleties that go with aging and the needs you may or may not have in certain weather situations. The safety of our residents is always of utmost importance to us, so we make sure to adapt our fitness and exercise routines for optimal benefits at low risks.”
No matter your age, it’s always good to know how to remain active in summer without melting into a puddle. “Southern Florida is a very particular ecosystem, which can be challenging if you haven’t lived here before, but a wonderful place to be once you’ve acclimated. Our residents love being able to enjoy everything the area has to offer all from the comfort and convenience offered by our maintenance-free lifestyle.”
Are Summers in Florida Difficult?
Although the trusty The Old Farmer’s Almanac states that Florida’s 2021 summer will be slightly cooler than normal, the hottest period of the season will be in July – and it doesn’t always take a lot of heat in order to start feeling the effects. As we make our way through the hottest month of the year, here are some tips to follow to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke and the more serious heat exhaustion are symptoms that result when our bodies are dangerously overheated. Seniors, whose bodies are less able to tolerate heat than younger bodies, are more prone to developing this along with dehydration. The signs of heat stroke are hot and flushed skin, headache, excessive sweating, racing pulse and muscle cramps, among others. If you notice these symptoms, stop what you’re doing and immediately get to a cool place. Drink plenty of water and wait for your body to return to normal. Then, contact your doctor or visit an urgent clinic to make sure everything is okay.
On the other hand, if you or someone you know suddenly has cold, clammy skin, hot skin but no sweating, is having hallucinations or personality shifts, this means that heatstroke has progressed to heat exhaustion, which can be life threatening. Immediately call 911 or go to the emergency room while also getting the individual to a cool place.
Drink before, during and after exercise.
Most of us aren’t getting enough water on a regular basis. When we exercise, we need even more water to regain the moisture we sweat out during a good workout. Before you start any sort of fitness activity, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water beforehand. (Don’t drink any more than a glass or two, or else you might actually cause cramps when you exercise.) Have a water bottle with you and be sure to drink from it regularly throughout your workout. Finally, after you’re cooling down and focusing on your post-workout schedule, be sure to drink another glass or two of water to avoid headaches or fatigue – signs that you’re mildly dehydrated.
Check the weather before heading outside.
Exercising out in the open air is invigorating, but if the temperature and humidity are soaring, it’s best to stay inside in the air-conditioning. Before you head out on a walk, jog or any other outside activity, check what the weather will be like. If it’s sweltering, put off your exercise until the evening, when things should be cooler.
Stay out of the sun during midday.
Save your exercises for the morning or later afternoon and evening. During the hottest part of the day, generally from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s best to stay inside in the cool shade. Staying out of the worst of the heat will help reduce your chance of developing any heat-related issues.
Find alternate forms of exercise.
Most of us have one or two types of exercises we like to do. For summer, you may want to consider adapting or completely changing your exercise routine in order to stay inside. You can make subtle adjustments to your regular fitness schedule (for example, if you enjoy walking outside, you might want to look for an indoor mall that offers walking hours, or find an air-conditioned gym with a fitness track). Or start a new type of exercise, like yoga, tai chi or strength training – things that don’t require going out in the heat.
Take it easy.
If and when you do go outside, don’t push yourself too hard. You won’t be able to do as much in high temps and high humidity as you do on cooler days. Exercise in short bursts – 15 to 30 minutes at a time – so you can see how your body will react in the weather.
Choose hydrating foods and drinks.
All of us enjoy a post-workout snack (and other snacks), which is a great way to re-energize and rehydrate yourself. When you’re reaching for a treat, though, make sure you’re choosing water-rich choices like fruits, fresh vegetables and others. Avoid things like popcorn, chips or other dehydrating choices that could sap even more liquid from your body. At the same time, make sure your drink choices aren’t actually dehydrating you. Sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol all affect your hydration intake.
“Ultimately, listen to your body and adapt your workouts and routines based on what it’s telling you,” says Rachel. “By doing that and following these tips, you’ll find that staying fit in the summer months is easy, enjoyable and safe, no matter what your fitness level or age.”
About The Terraces at Bonita Springs
Recreation, special events, holiday celebrations, educational programs, guest speakers and a variety of inspiring activities take place throughout the year at The Terraces at Bonita Springs as part of the community’s active lifestyle programs. The Terraces is the only Life Plan Community for senior living in the Bonita Springs area. Living choices include independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. All levels of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing and memory support, are open for direct admittance with no entrance fee.
For more information, visit TheTerracesAtBonitaSprings.com or call 239-221-8907.