Without question, spending time outdoors enhances our ability to heal and maintain physical and emotional health. Architectural design studies even show that people exposed to greenery and sunlight in common spaces report improvements in health and well-being.
So, go ahead, enjoy the warmer weather but also realize climbing temperatures can pose risks for people dealing with mobility challenges and chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD and Parkinson’s Disease. If this group includes you, here are some tips to make time spent in the great outdoors safer and more enjoyable:
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Arrange for someone to escort you when walking, exercising or sitting outdoors.
- Use walking aids. Remember, it’s better to take a stroll in the park using a walker or cane without incident than to fall.
- If your mobility is more limited, try sitting on a porch or patio. Or just open a window. The air will freshen your home.
- As much as possible, schedule your time outside earlier or later in the day and avoid the hottest hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- When going out, take along a bottle of chilled water.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Dilute juices to avoid too much sugar.
- Eat fruits and vegetables high in water content such as leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, celery and melons. Use moderation, however, when consuming watermelon which is loaded with natural sugar and carbs.
- Avoid drinking too many caffeinated beverages which can deplete your body of fluids.
With the right assistance, whether from a relative, friend or homecare provider, you’ll be able to enjoy the great outdoors this summer. Homecare providers assist people with short-term care while they recuperate from surgery or complete a course of therapy. They also provide ongoing assistance to those with chronic conditions. Support can include medication reminders, also assistance with bathing, dressing, meal preparation, laundry, running errands and even caring for pets.
Kathy Semrow R.N, director of Life Care at Home, a not-for-profit provider of private in-home personal care, shares her 42 years of nursing experience.