In the summer months, many of us are more enticed to partake in exercise, and generally, of a greater variety with so many outdoor opportunities. I hope this time for many is a good mixture of work and play, and in that playtime, here are some helpful reminders for keeping active, safe and happy over the summer.
Exercise in the morning or evening: Aim to exercise during the cooler portions of the day. This may mean earlier morning or evening workouts. This helps to remain cool while exercising to avoid heat exhaustion, but it also decreases the risk of sun exposures like sunburn. If exercising in brighter and hotter temperatures of the day, try to find shady areas, use sun protection, stay hydrated, and/or consider indoor exercise with air conditioning.
Choose appropriate clothing: Lightweight clothing is best, in lighter colors and looser fitting. This helps with sweat evaporation and keeping you cooler and can be a part of sun protection if wearing long sleeves or pants, requiring less sunscreen.
Sun protection: As we’ve shared, keep yourself covered with long sleeves, pants and a hat. Seek the shade when possible, and use sunscreen. Look for broad-spectrum coverage of UVA and UVB, aiming for at least 30 SPF; apply about every two hours or so. Don’t forget the extra importance of sunscreen at higher altitudes. It’s easy to remember the sun screen at the pool or beach, but don’t forget about it on mountain tops or when hiking and biking.
Involve the whole family: Feel free to do your favorite exercises and get your workouts in, but from time to time, consider ways in which the whole family can be active. Utilize parks, taking both the kids and the grandparents. This might mean hikes, amusement parks, canoeing, fishing, dancing and more. Another way to keep the family active is to plan active vacations. Consider camping or vacations near water activities. It’s a great way to spend time in nature that can promote family bonding and exercise.
Picnics and cookouts: If you’re going to exercise outside, why not eat outside? Summer is a great time for picnics and cookouts. Be sure to properly wash foods and in these temperature extremes, pay attention to avoid food spoiling. Eat seasonally with refreshing fruits and vegetables, and while sometimes it is helpful to prepare ahead of time, it may be best to make food items the same day as the event for food safety.
With graduation near and summer session not far behind, take the time this summer to get outside and stay active. Make it a summertime story worth sharing when you get back for the fall semester.
Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more see the Adult Fitness Program website at www.chhs.colostate.edu/hes/outreach-and-engagement/adult-fitness/.