The body’s ability to regulate its temperature diminishes as one ages. And when you hit a certain age group, past 50 or 60 years – it becomes extremely hard to maintain your physical peak, especially during the summer months.
During a workout, the body produces more heat than it can dissipate, making you prone to heat related risks such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and dehydration.
The body’s way of coping with increased temperatures is to sweat more – exuding moisture from the millions of little pores on your skin which evaporates when it comes into contact with air.
Receptors on the skin detect the temperature, and when heat levels increase beyond a certain value, the hypothalamus quickly swings into high gear – by triggering the glands in the skin to produce more sweat and by causing the hair on your skin to stand upright.
The cooling effect of sweating only works if the humidity (or amount of water in the air) is low enough. If the humidity is too high, the saturated levels of water in the air will prevent the sweat from escaping your body. After all, there is only so much water that the air can absorb.
Older adults as a result, need to take extra precautions in order to regulate their temperature, since the body is not as efficient as it was during their younger years!
Here are things older adults can do to cool off during and after a workout:
Tip# 1: Drink plenty of fluids
If there is insufficient amount of water in the body, you will not be able to excrete sweat to regulate your temperature. Water helps lubricate your body which facilitates many vital chemical reactions to occur seamlessly. The biggest indicator of your dehydration level is feeling thirsty; but a general rule of thumb is to drink at least 15 to 20 ounces of water before starting your workout.
Tip# 2: Wear protective clothing
The kind of clothing you wear has a direct impact on air circulation around your body as well as how efficiently the body sweats. Avoid synthetic clothing and opt for fabrics made out of natural fibers instead. They should be lightweight, loose fitting and light colored, reflecting off the heat and radiation from the Sun. It is important to avoid darker clothes since they absorb heat. If you are outdoors, ensure that as much of your skin is covered as possible. And remember to wear a wide hat to protect your face from the sun if you’re working out outside.
Tip# 3: Exercise in a well ventilated area
The best way to cool off is to work out in an area that is well ventilated and will circulate air around your body, allowing the body’s sweat to evaporate properly while cooling off the body simultaneously.
Tip# 4: Take a break
There’s no shame in taking regular breaks from your workout routine. Even professional athletes recognize the importance of breaks during regular intervals of time, to allow the body to cool off.
Tip# 5: Avoid drinking coffee and tea before the workout
While having a cup of coffee and tea is an excellent way of improving your cognitive skills, providing an excellent means of kicking the body into action; it has the opposite effect when it comes to working out. Caffeine is a dehydrant which will cause you to lose fluids and leave you thirsty, sooner than you expected.
Follow these tips to stay cool during your next workout and avoid overheating and dehydration during those hot summer months.