Exercising in hot weather

Hyperthermia can be a life threatening condition that you should watch out for during humid summer months.

Many people enjoy outdoor actives such as gardening, taking care of the yard, swimming, biking and walking. If you have some health problems, too much heat can be risky for an older adult.

Hyperthermia is a heat related illness that is associated with abnormally high body temperature caused by our bodies not regulating heat that comes from our environment. The result is heat fatigue, dizziness, cramps and heat stroke. People that do not drink enough water, or have general poor health, are at higher risk than those that stay hydrated.

To avoid hyperthermia during exercise, try doing the following:

  • Always check the weather forecast. If it is very hot or humid, exercise or find activities in your home.
  • Wear light colored and loose fitting clothing. Use natural fabrics such as cotton instead of polyester or rayon. Manmade fibers do not breathe, but natural fibers, such as cotton, breathe and will keep you cooler.
  • Dress in layers so you are able to take your outer clothing off when you get too warm from your activity.

Hyperthermia is very serious and life threatening. Signs to look for are: flushed skin and a rapid pulse, acting strangely or being unresponsive, a body temperature over 105 degrees Fahrenheit and nausea or dizziness.

If you are with a person or if you have any of the above conditions get help immediately. You also can help by:

  • Calling 911
  • Getting the person out of heat and into air conditioning or a shady area outside
  • Apply cold cloths to the wrists, neck, armpits and /or groin area. Blood is closest to the surface in these areas and the cool cloth will cool blood faster
  • Try and get the person to drink water

The National Institute on Aging has additional information on this subject along with

Michigan State University Extension.

For more tips on health and nutrition visit Michigan State University Extension at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/topic/info/chronic_disease

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