Arizona Exercise and Hydration Tips for the Summer Season

Don Beaver, Director of Fitness

As we approach the higher temperatures where our perspiration will instantly dry and possibly confuse us as to just how much water we are losing, remember the following tips for both exercise and hydration in our wonderful Arizona arid climate:

Need for Exercise—Decreased or no physical activity can have a negative effect on your health in a number of ways: greater chance of falls; loss of independence; increased anxiety and depression; high blood pressure; increased pain and loss of range of motion due to arthritis; increased chance of coronary artery disease and diabetes; loss of strength and bone mass; increased recovery time for wounds and injuries to heal. Wow! Now, no excuses for skipping exercise! The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults, regardless of age, get at least 150 minutes of moderate or at least 75 minutes of intense physical activity each week throughout the year. That doesn’t mean that you need to exercise all at once. In fact, it is recommended that you exercise 3 to 5 times per week. It is also recommended that you consider making exercise a social event with a group exercise class and/or exercising with a family member or friend—it’s a proven method to assist you with sticking to your goals. Last, whether you are a regular exercise enthusiast or haven’t exercised in years, get started, listen to your body as to intensity, and ‘get after it!’

Hydration—We’ve all heard it before as to the need to be vigilant with respect to hydration in our climate. In fact, active seniors, on average, should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout each day (not all at once). Hydration not only helps you with your exercising, but also keeps constipation at bay; decreases the risk of falling; keeps you from feeling sluggish; keeps your skin looking healthy; helps control weight loss and reduces your risk of urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and kidney stones.

Five Hydration Tips—(1) Hydrate prior to exercising and continue to do so during your exercise routine. (2) Foods can hydrate, too—try watermelon, cantaloupe, grapefruit and/or strawberries as a pre-workout snack. (3) Early signs of dehydration include declining coordination, muscle cramps, muscle fatigue, decreased energy and reduction in athletic performance. Learn to recognize these symptoms before the onset of heat stroke! (4) Water is a great hydrator for light to moderate exercise of up to an hour, but consider a sports drink that contains carbohydrates (no more than 14 grams/8 fluid ounces) and electrolytes (particularly sodium and potassium) for intense or longer workouts. (5) Obviously, ‘heavy sweaters’ should make sure they replace more fluids than others.”

Follow these simple steps to safely remain active during our warmer Arizona season, and enjoy the journey!

*Excerpted from the Christian Athletic Association and Otterbein Senior Life

Congratulations to our February Group Exercise Challenge winners: Cynthia Rosenlund, 30 classes; Deb Robinson, 27 classes; Raelene Reilly, 19 classes. Now that’s commitment—those numbers were achieved in a 28-day month!