Ideas for Having fun with Out of doors Actions as Summer time Arrives


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Physical fitness | safety in summer

With summer officially arriving in the northern hemisphere, it’s time to get outside.

There are many safe ways to stay active, stay ready, and enjoy the great outdoors.

Also, “there’s so much research on the effects that just being out in the sun and outdoors and doing any kind of physical activity has on your mental health in general,” said Sara Morris, a certified ultra-trail runner and track coach in Fort Knox, Kentucky.

As an Army Reserve soldier, Morris knows the importance of engaging in activities that help maintain preparedness while reducing stress and having fun.

“As long as you’re safe, you can’t beat the benefits,” she said.

For example, she suggests, “Doing things that may be different than you do in winter, like biking, paddling, swimming, and hiking, are good ways to get out in nature in summer.”

These types of activities are also “a way to get those feel-good endorphins,” she added.

“And these activities can often be done for free, which is also great.”

Region Specific Activities

Biking is another great sport, said Chuck Alfultis, the outdoor recreation manager for the Air Force Academy’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) program in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Here in Colorado, it’s mostly mountain biking. But any kind of cycling and cycling is excellent cardio,” he said. “It’s a way to improve your fitness and get you out in the sun when the weather is nice.”

And depending on where you’re based, there are other activities like rock climbing, white water rafting, and other water sports like canoeing and kayaking.

“Outdoor recreation has surged in popularity in recent years due to COVID,” he said. “During COVID it was a way to get out of the house. You didn’t need to be around people, so outdoor activities and getting back to nature really exploded.”

Alfultis emphasized that every military entity offers MWR programs and services to service members, their families, military retirees, veterans with service-related disabilities, and current and retired civilian Department of Defense employees and other eligible participants.

The MWR programs may include organized group activities and guidance on activities and events for use at your location.

Outdoor Safety

Morris emphasized that outdoors, “sun protection and hydration are the most important things.”

Being aware of the heat and the way your body sweats throughout the day are important factors to keep in mind, she said.

“Make sure you wear UPF clothing [which indicates how much UV radiation a fabric allows to reach your skin]make sure you put on sunscreen at the right intervals and make sure you have plenty of water,” she said.

For example, when she goes hiking with her family, she makes sure to have an extra bottle of water with her so there is enough for everyone.

“We each have our own water bottle, plus an extra one in case the activity lasts a little longer than planned,” she said. “We also always have extra sunscreen for our face and make sure we have hats on.”

Another factor to remember is ticks. In Kentucky, like many other places, “it’s been a really bad tick season this year,” she said. “So you should have bug spray to protect yourself, and you’ll also want to check yourself when you get home to make sure you don’t have ticks on your body, on your children’s body, on your children’s body.” animal, to protect yourself from it too.”

Morris noted the military community’s access to the MilTICK program, which allows service members and DOD beneficiaries, including contractors and DOD civilians, to submit their ticks for identification and testing without having to visit a clinic or order a test kit.

“So if you find a tick and it has bitten you, you can submit that tick for testing to see if it affects you,” Morris said. “You can also usually mail it to the clinic or mail it to the vet, and they can test your animals as well.”

Some precautions

Other precautions include water safety, awareness of the weather and the wildlife present at your location.

Regarding water safety, Morris warns, “It doesn’t take very much water to drown.” She recommends being alert and careful in the water, especially if you can’t swim.

In this case, Alfultis added that it’s important to always wear a personal flotation device. “Just make sure you wear these at all times,” he said.

If you’re traveling and going hiking in a new place, “make sure you know what wildlife is around and if you need bear spray, or stay on heightened alert about your surroundings,” Morris said.

Alfultis said wearing the right clothes is also important. “Make sure you’re wearing proper closed-toe shoes instead of flip-flops when cycling or hiking,” he said.

“And if you’re doing something alone, make sure someone knows where you’re going, what you’re doing and how long you’ll be gone so they know when to expect you back or where to look for you,” he said .

“If you’re parking in a public area, take a moment to write down your start time, route, and an emergency contact number. Put this on your car’s dashboard so someone who encounters your vehicle will know who you are and the route you took.”