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How to Stay Active Despite the Heat

It’s safe to say summer has arrived in full force across the country. From Phoenix to Colorado Springs to St. Louis, residents in all of our Bethesda Senior Living Communities have broken out the sunscreen and cranked up the air conditioning to beat the heat. With plane flights grounded in the southwest and asphalt everywhere seemingly hot enough to fry an egg, you may be feeling like it’s time to shut the shades, break out a popsicle, and chill out until autumn.

But as any physician will tell you, exercise is the cornerstone of healthy living—boosting energy, fighting the symptoms of aging, maintaining strong cardiovascular fitness and simply feeling good. While exercise is important for everyone, staying active is especially important for seniors to maintain good mental and physical health.

The good news is that staying active doesn’t have to mean hitting the pavement in the glaring midafternoon sun. Instead, here are five strategies for staying active (and cool) throughout these long summer days:

1. Exercise early in the morning. Whether you’re a jogger, a walker or a Tai Chi enthusiast, those early morning hours are the coolest you’ll find. Temperatures tend to rise throughout the day and peak in late afternoon. Evenings may give you some respite, but several hours with the sun cooking the other side of the earth are what really cools things off.

2. Find the fitness centers. For many of us, we love exercising outdoors—but July and August are unreasonable. Your community fitness center or your local YMCA offers the sweet relief of air conditioning, as well as the benefit of classes such as yoga, Pilates, aerobics and more. Now is an excellent time to sign up for a gym membership.

3. Consider buying a Fitbit. If you haven’t already gotten on board the “wearables” trend, a Fitbit is a simple bracelet that tracks your steps and vibrates when you hit 10,000 for the day. At the end of the day you can log onto your computer and see how far you’ve walked, which can be motivating to get your steps in—even on days when the couch and ice cream are calling.

4. Look for community activities. Sometimes the best way to stay active is to get active without realizing it. Cities and towns across the country are offering festivals, concerts, and special activities such as Fourth of July celebrations. Commit to getting out of the house for a fun event, and you’ll be surprised by how many steps you can get in just walking around and having a good time in your community.

5. Stay hydrated. No matter how you stay active—whether through early-morning jogs or delightful evenings at a fair or festival—hydration is the necessary constant. Be sure to bring a bottle of water with you when you leave the house, and take plenty of breaks to re-hydrate and recharge. With that in mind, cheers to a great summer!