Summer brings out our inner kid and our need to get outside. Yet this season can challenge us with heat, humidity and insects. This year, especially, in the midst of COVID-19, it can feel especially difficult to be as active as you’d like to be.
With a little planning and creativity, you can keep fit and have fun this summer.
Why activity matters
At any age, it’s important to move and keep active. But as you grow older, there are even more benefits.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, lists at least 5 great reasons to stay active:
- Lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
- Improve your strength and balance
- Improve your mood
- Feel better about yourself
- Improve your ability to think, learn, and make decisions
Two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity is recommended each week, that’s about 21 minutes a day. Two days a week with some strength training is also advised. If you don’t have weights or exercise bands, you can use bottles of water or cans of food. Balance activities are also helpful. Even something as simple as standing on one foot can work — hold onto a chair at first if you need to.
Find something you enjoy, so movement doesn’t feel like a burden. There are many creative ways to have fun and strengthen your body.
Getting outside in the summer can feel great, but be sure to take precautions:
- Use sunscreen. If you will be outside for more than 15 minutes you should apply a sunscreen to avoid the risk of sun cancer.
- Stay hydrated. Especially as the heat rises, it’s essential to drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat stroke. Along with water, eat fruits and vegetables to up your liquid intake. Make sure to drink even before you feel thirsty.
- Keep bugs away. Whether it’s mosquitoes or ticks, insects can cause trouble in warmer weather. Apply insect repellant and wear long sleeves and pants when possible.
- Avoid the midday sun. It’s best to exercise early in the morning or later in the day. Not only does that protect your skin, but also helps you to avoid overheating.
- Wear shades. Put on sunglasses with a UV coating and/or a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes from the sun.
- Be realistic with your goals. It’s smart to set a goal for steps or miles ridden, but don’t overdo it.
- Some days it will be better to exercise indoors. When the heat index gets high, it may be safer to be active indoors. You might try a video online or exercise using your own body weight with something like yoga.