Guide to Getting Outside This Summer
How many “I’m ready for summer and warmer weather” posts have you seen? I know my feed is full of them year-round, and for a good reason! Since childhood, summer is often synonymous with fun, especially if you had the summer off school and got to spend your time playing rather than working.
However, not everyone enjoys the hot weather, especially if you live in a much warmer climate, and the heat can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. And while the end of school may bring excitement and joy to many children, it can be an added stressor for their parents.
Whether you love these warmer months or not, summer is a great time to slow down, explore more of your town and different activities, spend time with friends and family, enjoy fresh food, and just get outside.
Not sure where to start to get outside this summer?
Here Are 4 Tips to Help You Feel Prepared For Summer
What “appropriate” means depends on where you live, what the weather is like, and personal preferences or religious beliefs, of course. Essentially, you need to be sure your clothing protects you from the sun while also giving you plenty of breathability to prevent overheating. Hats are a great way to protect your face from the sun, and shorts and short sleeve shirts are great options! Alternatively, you can try skirts or dresses made of thinner, lighter material.
Whatever you wear, be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin. The sun is closer to the earth in the summer and usually out longer, so it is easier to get sunburned, especially if you’re not prepared. So, it’s essential to take care of yourself and protect your skin from sun damage.
You may also want to bring a light jacket or poncho in case of rain. (Although, I often welcome the rain after being active in the sun! It’s refreshing, like a dip in the pool.) Regardless of the forecast, it’s always wise to have a waterproof coating or an umbrella.
💡 Pro Tip – It’s always better to be safe and have an extra jacket you don’t need than to find yourself stuck a mile into a hike soaking wet with shoes now rubbing the wrong way. (I don’t know about you, but I love to avoid blisters!)
Ensure you have the right socks (anything that is fast drying is usually a good choice) and comfortable, appropriate shoes. Decide what you’re going to do before you leave the house, so you know what shoes you need. While a short walk with your dog may just call for sneakers, a longer hike (especially if there will be water involved) may require sturdy, breathable sandals or hiking boots.
💡 Pro Tip – You may need to get new shoes, but you can think of it as an investment! Be sure to break in your shoes first so that you aren’t left with blisters. And consider getting waterproof shoes if you’ll be hiking through rivers or creeks.
Water and Snacks
Your body will be using more energy while active, and you’ll sweat more in the heat. Your body is trying to cool off and will end up dehydrating faster than you may be used to. You also might need more electrolytes after being outside for an extended period of time, so plenty of water, snacks, and maybe an electrolyte drink are important to keep on hand.
💡 Pro Tip– Bring a small fanny pack or a compactable bag to store your snacks and water in! And bring a reusable water bottle if you’re going somewhere with access to water fountains, so you don’t have to spend money on a new bottle (and to help protect our environment!)
Protect Against Bugs and the Sun
Regular application of sunscreen is crucial any time you’re outside, but especially during summer. Sunburns are a quick way to ruining your week and are incredibly damaging to your skin, so be sure you’re taking proper steps to protect your skin!
Depending on where you live, there are more bugs in the summer as well. Avoid mosquito bites and other pests with a good bug repellant. Bug bites are never fun and can also cause sickness.
💡 Pro Tip – Hats are great for sun protection for your face and head (don’t forget your scalp can get sunburned too, even if you have hair) but are not meant to be used instead of sunscreen. Also, if you plan on swimming, be sure to find waterproof sun and bug protection.
AWESOME! Now that you’re a bit more prepared, it’s time to get excited about exploring nature!
Here are 5 EASY and ACCESSIBLE Ways to Get Outside This Summer.
The sun is out for longer hours, and the afternoon can get pretty toasty, so try to schedule your activities for the early morning if possible before it gets too hot. Evenings are also great but depending on where you live, mosquitoes may be more active after sunset.
And, whenever possible, physically go outside to soak up some vitamin D, even if it’s just stepping out onto a porch, balcony, or the front of your work building during a break.
Get in the Water
Water is GREAT during the summer. Many places have rivers or lakes or even waterfalls that are perfect for water activities such as tubing or water skiing or floating the river with some friends.
Also, take advantage of pool opportunities! Maybe you or a friend have a pool where you can host a get-together, or you can enjoy the local city pool or a local YMCA. Either way, there are plenty of ways to find a place to enjoy swimming. Many parks also have splash pads that are great for the kids!
Just remember to always be safe! Make sure everyone in your group (yourself included) can swim well. If you have children, you can find local swim lessons to put them in, both for their own enjoyment and your peace of mind that they’re safe near bodies of water!
Hiking is one of my favorite ways to explore nature, either alone or with friends or family! Be sure to plan ahead to be familiar with the trail or choose a well-marked trail to avoid getting lost. And don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with local trails! You can download many free apps, such as AllTrails, to discover trails near you or ask some friends for recommendations.
Not ready for a trail? Go on a leisurely walk around your neighborhood or a nearby park. If you have a dog, take it with you! They’ll be just as happy as you to get outside.
Try Something New
Do some research to find summer activities in your town. You may be surprised what all there is to do. Many towns will have a monthly farmer’s market or events downtown you can attend for free. Take your friends with you for a fun hangout and much-needed human interaction.
Check Facebook or online for some local events, interest groups, etc. If you’ve never been mountain biking, kayaking, or rock climbing, you can probably find somewhere to try it out for the first time. Find an activity in your town you may have never heard of and give it a shot!
Host a BBQ
Pick a weekend and invite some friends over for some backyard fun! Or, if you don’t have an adequate backyard for a party, you could ask a friend who does or find a local park with a grill and host a BBQ. Most cities should have picnic tables and grills at one of the local parks, if not multiple. Recruit some friends to help supply food and bring some frisbees and other games and just have a leisurely outdoor afternoon!
I hope some of these ideas spark some excitement to explore nature! Or help you come up with your own ideas.
Scientists and mental professionals have found that nature is incredibly healing and is crucial for our overall mental, physical, and emotional health. It should be just as essential to be intentional about spending time outside as it is to get plenty of sleep, drink water, and eat a clean diet!