The sunny days of summer arrived, and the opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends, family, and neighbors. The choices of adventures vary depending on several things, including a person’s locale, ability, and time. Sometimes activities are spontaneous, whereas others require planning.
Summertime fun can be as simple as going to an ice cream parlor, visiting a park, swimming, walking, or gardening. On the other hand, perhaps a day-long hike, camping, boating, or fishing might be pleasurable.
No matter what summer activity you choose, spending time outside is healthy. Only 10 to 30 minutes a week provides the recommended amount of Vitamin D, which supports a healthy immune system. Experts suggest spending the first 10 minutes without sunscreen if you don’t sunburn easily. But the “sunshine vitamin” can be absorbed while protecting against sun damage; it just takes longer.
Ready-to-Go Activity Essentials Bag
One common denominator of any away-from-home activity is being prepared. Therefore, create a ready-to-go essentials bag or backpack available whenever the mood strikes.
Some helpful items to add are:
- Non-perishable snacks include granola bars, cookies, nuts, dried fruit, chips, meat or fruit jerky, trail mix, or homemade gorp. Hikers must munch on snacks to help them stay energized — gorp combines several energy-boosting nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and vegetables.
- Add reusable straws for sipping cold drinks. By choosing reusable, you are protecting the environment and wildlife.
- Sunscreen. Make sure to choose the recommended SPF for your family members. Consider a sweatproof one. Remember to cover quickly burned areas: the nose, ears, shoulders, and back of the neck.
- A basic first aid kit. Make sure it has treatments to reduce itching from bug bites, bee stings, or poison ivy, as well as something to ease sunburn pain.
- Unscented Simpleaf personal cleansing wipes in a resealable dispenser pack or individual packets. Simpleaf brand wipes are made using 100% viscose, a plant-based fiber that is 100% bio-degradable, therefore, eco-friendly. In addition, they are thick, hypoallergenic, and safe for sensitive skin.
- Brush, comb, hair ties, lip balm, and facial tissues might be handy.
- Bring head coverings such as ballcaps, sun visors, or foldable sunhats with three-inch brims (or 2.5 inches for babies and toddlers) for maximum protection.
- A must is extra bags for trash to make it easier to carry it back home for proper disposal and miscellaneous items like pinecones, interesting stones, etc.
While they won’t fit in an essentials bag, other items, including lightweight jackets and extra clothing, are needed. In addition, if you plan to have a picnic, bring a bottle of multipurpose cleaner to sanitize picnic tables or a toilet seat safely.
Staying Healthy in the Summer Sun
Remember to stay hydrated while spending time in the summer sun. Excessive heat exposure can be harmful. According to Healthline, a dehydrated person could develop dangerous heat-related conditions such as cramps, exhaustion, and sunstroke.
Health experts say, “Don’t wait until you are thirsty!” Sipping water throughout the day will prevent dehydration. An easy way to tell if you are hydrated enough is to use the color of your urine as a guide, “the clearer, the better.”
In addition to water, fruit juice — no sugar added — helps people stay hydrated and adds essential nutrients like vitamin C. Pineapple, cranberry, pomegranate, and concord grape are very high in antioxidants. These antioxidants help the body heal from wounds and sunburns that are common during the summer.
If alcohol is a must, drink a bottle of water between each alcoholic beverage. By adding water, you reduce the chance of becoming dehydrated. Caffeinated drinks, like cola, tea, and coffee, are also considered non-hydrating but should also be avoided.
Watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, and bell peppers, are hydrating foods that would be welcome at any barbeque or picnic.
Loose-fitting linen, cotton, or hemp clothing is a smart choice for keeping cool on hot summer days. Choose light-colored clothing because darker clothing soaks up more heat. Ensure your clothing is loose to let your body do what it is supposed to: cool you down by evaporation.
However, lighter-colored clothing does not protect against ultraviolet rays. If you want to be protected from the sun, then dark or bright pastel colors are best.
To help cool down, use wipes in your essentials bag, drink juice or water, and find shade. Then, rest, rehydrate, and cool your skin before moving down the trail.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Originally published on Simpleaf Brands
Healthline: How to Beat the Heat; by Brian Krans, Medically reviewed by Lauren Castiello, MS, AGNP-C
Mountain Warehouse: How to Pack a Daypack
UNICEF Kid Power: Summer Activities for Kids in 2018