Busy > Effects of Heatwaves on the Physical Fitness of Seniors
14th Jul 2022

Effects of Heatwaves on the Physical Fitness of Seniors

Extreme passive thermal stress, caused by prolonged exercises in hot conditions, places tremendous pressure on pumping blood to disperse heat. During the heatwave, it is vital for individuals of all age groups to be fit. Even in healthy ageing, decreasing cardiovascular function limits a senior’s ability to increase cardiac output, maintain stroke volume, and increase cutaneous blood flow when exposed to environmental extremes. Heat waves add an extra burden to the cardiovascular system. In this case, health and fitness play a significant role in adjusting to the temperature variations.


Heatwaves & their Detrimental Impact on Health

The phrase “heat wave” according to one definition refers to “a lengthy period of extraordinarily high temperatures”. The traditional definition of a heatwave is at least three consecutive days with temperatures at least 5°Celsius higher than usual and a rise in the average temperature of the night. In addition, there must be an increase in the daytime temperature.

Aspects of a heat removal strategy that are considered to be of the utmost significance are:

  • The production of sweat
  • An increase in cardiac output
  • The process through which blood is carried to the surface of the body

The condition known as heat stress is brought on by temperatures too high for the body to adapt to before it becomes uncomfortable. When the human capacity for heat is exceeded, it results in an increase in the production of body heat. It also causes an inability to distribute heat, and a depletion of fluids, all leading to various deadly heart conditions.

It is believed that individuals who live in warmer areas have a greater tendency to get accustomed to the typical temperatures there. However, everyone has a unique ability to handle the heat. Even acclimatised individuals incur the danger of heat stroke if subjected to persistently severe temperatures. Incorporating fitness during a heat wave is suggested only when the workouts help to lower the temperature. This risk is greatly enhanced if there is no significant decrease in temperature over the night. There are many different bodily manifestations of heat, and their intensity and impact may vary significantly.


Effects of Heat on the Body’s Physical Attributes

Heat StressHeat StrokeHeat Exhaustion
DizzinessHeadacheRapid, weak pulse
LethargyWeaknessShallow breathing
Facial rednessNauseaElevated temperature
SweatingConfusionMuscle pain

Heat-related complications include an increased risk of fracture, increased troponin levels associated with a lower one-year survival rate, and severe heat stroke. It is defined as a rise in core body temperature of more than 40°C, that may lead to organ malfunction, death, and increased troponin levels. Other heat-related complications include a severe risk of dehydration.


During a heat wave, it is vital to have an active lifestyle and a healthy way of living

During the warmer months, it is essential for people of all ages, including young children and older adults, to be fit.

This not only assists the blood in delivering nutrients to the different sections of the body, but it also has the potential to assist the body in cooling down. One such method is having an increased plasma volume, it protects the body from the adverse effects of dehydration by preventing the blood from becoming excessively thick when the body loses water volume. This is done by controlling the blood from clotting abnormally.


Some Tips for Physical Fitness During a Heatwave

Be sure to adhere to these seven fitness guidelines during a heatwave if you want to ensure that your exercise under the scorching sun is carried out without any untoward incident.

It’s usually great to stick to a general health and fitness plan, whether for the equipment, clothing, or what you’re meant to consume. Before taking part in any sporting activity, it is strongly suggested that this manual be utilised as a reference.


1. Hydration is a crucial factor in a fitnessregime

Combating dehydration will be your primary issue when your goal is fitness during rising temperatures. In reaction to the high temperatures, your body will begin to sweat excessively, which will, in turn, cause electrolytes to be flushed out of your system. This process will start when your body attempts to reduce the temperature at its core, which will cause it to sweat excessively. Consuming fluids, particularly in the form of low-sugar energy drinks that include electrolytes, is essential when you are engaging in physical activity during adverse hot conditions.


2. Use hats & other sun-blocking methods

Even though you must deal with the sun continually, making it impossible to see, nothing compares to working outdoors in the fresh air. Wearing a hat when exercising in the heat can prevent sunburn or tan from occurring, so be sure to have one with you. The purpose of running headgear is to maintain your head at a comfortable temperature, and it does this by having air vents and a structure constructed of mesh.


3. Modify your behaviour in the following ways

If you run about noon regularly, you may want to reconsider that choice as the temperature rises and becomes more uncomfortable. It will help if you plan to be fit for more fabulous times of the day, like in the morning before going to work, and this will help you avoid overheating.


4. Pre-cool your body before workouts

Allowing yourself some time to cool down before commencing activities is one of the simplest things you can do to aid with activities when there is a heatwave in effect. Because pre-cooling lowers your core temperature, it makes your body more resistant to the effects of heat when it builds up throughout your exercise.


5. Pick fabrics that dry quickly

If the temperature outside is higher, you will sweat more. If the perspiration that you create is prevented from evaporating because of the clothes you are wearing, you will not be able to get practical exercise. Wicking textiles, which are utilised in the fabrication of purpose-built training gear, help the body cool itself more efficiently by drawing sweat away from the body and from the fabric’s surface. Lighter materials have the opposite impact as darker textiles, which absorb heat and make you feel hotter. Thus it is important to take note of the colour of your clothing.


6. Put aside all thoughts of breaking your record

If you aren’t receiving enough fluids and you are losing electrolytes, your body’s last desire is to test its capabilities to their ultimate limit. Because of this, you expose yourself to the possibility of sustaining an injury or becoming sick.


7. Don’t be afraid to dive straight in

When the heat becomes excessive, it is time to go to the neighbourhood pool, which is situated nearby. Swimming is an excellent exercise that can be used as a form of cross-training for any activity. It will help you to maintain a healthy body temperature while doing it.



The ability to maintain body temperature under heat stress may deteriorate with age, which is linked to poorer physiological performance. Young and senior fitness freaks react to heat-related exercise differently owing to age-related variations in cutaneous blood flow management. Consuming fluids before, during, and after hot weather activity is crucial for health and fitness, especially for older persons. Aerobic fitness, acclimatisation, and right hydration are more essential than age in predicting exercise capacity in hot weather. Functional abilities and physiological health state, not chronological age, determine whether a person can stay fit in hot weather or not.

If your looking for a way to improve your fitness, but don’t know where to begin, we got your back! The Emoha app helps seniors enhance their health and safety, all in the comfort of their own homes. With the app, you get access to a host of live-interactive shows ranging from daily yoga classes to healthy cooking shows. Additionally, you can avail of facilities like 24/7 emergency support (medical & non-medical), daily convenience help desk, medicine reminders, health counselling, one-tap access to all medical documents, special discounts on medicines and much more. Download the app on Google Play Store and IOS App Store.



How can I keep fit at home?

Maintaining a fitness timetable or a daily routine will help to stay fit. Avoiding junk and eating healthy motivates overall well-being.


Why are health and fitness important?

There won’t be any severe illnesses if you have a solid health and fitness regime in your daily routine.


How to achieve good health and fitness?

Eating nutrient-rich meals, drinking adequate amounts of water, and doing daily exercise will help to achieve health and fitness goals.