Summer weather has finally arrived, and that means a lot of us spend more time outdoors. There are a lot of ways to be physically active outside, which can be a nice change from indoor workouts.
With increased outdoor activity comes different safety issues. Beyond typical workout safety (making sure to warm up and cool down, using proper form, keeping workouts space clear) you also need to pay attention to other safety hazards.
Ways to beat Dehydration
Dehydration can happen quickly, and often when we don’t actually realize we are thirsty. It’s important to stay hydrated when participating in outdoor activities in hot weather. Set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20-30 minutes to remind you to drink water. In dryer climates, add a few grains of sea salt to your water. This helps your body absorb and retain water more effectively.
Keep Sunburns at bay
Sunburn is no fun, and protection from harmful rays is important. However, many commercial sunscreens contain harmful chemicals. Some even have carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). Protecting yourself from skin cancer by applying a carcinogen to your skin isn’t the best idea. Choose sunscreen wisely. Look for zinc oxide. I use Badger brand, but here are some other options https://www.skincareox.com/40-best-organic-sunscreens-non-toxic-natural/
Insect repellants without the chemicals
Another outdoor issue is insect bites and stings. I personally hate this one! I am always the first to get bit by a mosquito whenever we are hiking or camping. But bug sprays also contain dangerous chemical compounds. Since our skin absorbs these toxins within seconds of applying, it’s important to look for natural options. My personal favorite organic bug repellent is also from Badger. But there are many other options here https://www.bestproducts.com/parenting/kids/g1387/natural-bug-repellent/
Food Safety considerations for summer
Food safety is important in preventing food-born pathogens from causing you to get sick. Food poisoning will definitely ruin the memories of your picnic or barbecue. Be sure to have plenty of ice and a cooler to keep cold foods cold. If you are marinating meat to grill, discard excess marinade. Never use marinade that has touched raw meat to baste your food. Don’t leave foods sitting out in the heat or sun too long. And don’t allow grilled foods to become blackened. Meat especially will develop carcinogenic compounds when it is allowed to blacken on a grill. Here are some tips on how to avoid carcinogens when grilling https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13850/heres-how-to-avoid-carcinogens-when-youre-grilling.html
When your outdoor activity takes you to the streets- bicycling or jogging- learning the rules of the road is vitally important. I so often see both adults and kids riding their bicycles on the wrong side of the road. This is dangerous. When walking, you should be facing oncoming traffic. And many people ride their bicycles the same way. However, a bicycle is a vehicle, and cyclists are expected to follow traffic laws, AS a vehicle, bicycles should be ridden WITH traffic, not facing traffic like a pedestrian. Learn the bicycle laws in your area, and learn to use proper hand signals for turning and stopping. Check out the full list of cycling rules here https://www.bikeleague.org/content/traffic-laws and always wear a bicycle helmet. It’s also a good idea when walking, jogging or cycling to wear reflective clothing.
A few more safety tips for outdoor physical activity: Wear properly fitted footwear that is appropriate for your activity.
Don’t swim alone. Drownings can happen very quietly and quickly. And just as many adults as children drown each month in the US. On average, 10 people die per day from drowning in the US.
Tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be gone.
Finally, always be sure to warm up before starting your activity, and cool down afterward. Skipping your warm-up can result in injury, and being laid up in the summer os no fun! Cooling down and properly stretching after your workout or activity can help reduce soreness and prevent cramping.
Most importantly- enjoy being outside and being active! Studies have shown that being outside in nature can help improve your mood and reduce stress. And sunshine is necessary in order for our bodies to create vitamin D, a powerful immune booster. (you need at least 10-15 minutes of sun exposure -without sunscreen- in order to create vitamin D. So apply your organic sunscreen after you’ve gotten a few minutes of sun to get the immune-boosting benefits of the natural flu-prevention source-vitamin D.).So, get outside, get moving, and have fun! And let me know what your favorite outdoor activity is!