Florida used to be the popular destination for seniors looking to spend their winter someplace warm. Now, Texas is becoming a top option. Many baby boomers are choosing to become “Winter Texans” where they spend half the year in Texas, and half the year closer to family. Of course, many become so enamored with the Texas climate, they end up relocating entirely. If you are a senior, Texas offers great options for staying active in the outdoors. However, Texas heat can sometimes become dangerously high. You can be “Texas Tough” and still take precautions to protect yourself.
Use these 5 tips to stay comfortable and safe, while using exercise for seniors in the Texas heat:
1. Consider the time of day
Texas is generally warm throughout the year and throughout the day. Of course, during the mid-day hours, when the sun is most directly overhead, the temperatures tend to reach their hottest. During some points of the year, this may result in discomfort during your time outdoors. At other times, it could be downright dangerous to be outside and active, during those very hottest hours.
Before going outside to engage in exercise, check the time of day and the current temperature. Better yet, plan ahead. Schedule your outdoor work-outs for the early morning, when the temperatures are lowest or during the latter part of the day, when the sun is getting ready to set. Bonus—you will also get to enjoy a beautiful Texas sunset. No matter what time of day you choose to be active, be sure that you wear plenty of sunscreen and use bug repellent. This will also help to ensure you avoid burns and bites.
2. Be mindful of the humidity
During the hottest Texas days, the humidity can also rise. Being in a humid setting can feel quite uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. Usually, your body sweats to reduce your temperature. However, in that humidity, the natural processes may not work as they should. Also, your sweat may not be able to evaporate as the air is already saturated with moisture. If it is a particularly humid day, you may want to select an alternate setting for your exercise regimen.
To combat the humidity, you can try wearing loose clothing. This will allow for better airflow and offers the best chances at sweat evaporation. Of course, you should also plan to stay hydrated, even when you may not feel overly thirsty. Drink some water before, during, and after your work-out. Consider also getting some electrolytes into your system, to help maintain the appropriate levels.
3. Start slow and stay social
If you plan to enact a new work-out regimen, you should start slowly, and only after consulting with a medical provider about your options. By making sure your outdoor exercise is medically okay, you will help avoid any accidental medical mishaps. Then, begin exercise for seniors with short walks or stents of time, that increase over time. This is your best bet to ensure you do not overdo it.
Staying social during your work-out routines is also a great idea. Not only does this allow you companionship, it also helps make your work-out safer. You are more likely to pace yourself if you are walking and talking. The two of you can take short breaks to stretch and hydrate before continuing on. If you do have any unforeseen dehydration or other medical consequences, another person will be there to help you. Of course, it is also a good idea to take a cell phone with you for ease of communication.
Exercise for seniors is a great way to stay physically active and maintain physical functioning. If you are choosing to work-out regularly, that is an excellent decision. Be sure to follow-up that decision with careful planning, to ensure you stay safe and well in the high temperatures of Texas heat.