Is exercising in cold mornings safe?

February 24, 2024 | 03:31 pm PT
If my parents are elderly and have high blood pressure and diabetes, is it safe for them to exercise in cold mornings? What are the risks of them having a stroke? (Le Phuong, Hanoi)


Exercising plays a vital role in promoting our overall health, especially for elderly individuals. However, choosing the appropriate time and conditions for exercise is crucial. While your parents can engage in regular physical activities, they should consider the most suitable times based on the season and their health conditions.

Exercising early in the morning during cold weather can be particularly risky for older adults. The significant temperature difference between indoor and outdoor environments can lead to increased blood pressure and strain on the cardiovascular system, posing additional risks for those with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Consequently, the risk of having a stroke may be heightened if exercising in cold weather without proper precautions.

An elderly couple runs on the beach. Illustration photo by Freepik

An elderly couple runs on the beach. Illustration photo by Freepik

For safer exercise options, your parents can exercise indoors in a warm, wind-proof, and safe environment that ensures proper airflow. Should they prefer outdoor activities, it is advisable to choose a later time for exercise, when the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors is less pronounced.

It is also important to emphasize the importance of a proper warm-up. Rather than exercising immediately upon waking, allocating time for warm-up exercises is recommended as it can help the body gradually adapt.

Given their age and underlying health conditions, regular health check-ups and screenings are paramount. These screenings can help assess stroke risk factors, including blood pressure, cardiovascular health, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Based on the results, healthcare professionals can suggest necessary adjustments, treatments, or interventions to mitigate the risk of stroke and other related conditions for your parents.

Dr. Nguyen Van Lieu

Director of the Neurology - Stroke Center at Tam Anh General Hospital in Hanoi

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