Biggest tip for warm weather activities: Stay Hydrated! This is so important, it bears frequent repeating. Good hydration is important all the time, but in summer heat and sun we need to be even more aware than usual. Don’t wait until you feel parched. Thirst is often a lagging indicator of our bodies’ need for water. When you’re active outdoors, drink early and often.
Next: Wear Sunscreen or Cover Up! A bit of sunshine is good. It can elevate our mood (remember the doldrums of dark, dreary winter?). And we need sun to boost our vitamin D levels, low levels of which are now being linked to a number of diseases. But too much sun is not good… too much sun is a recipe for skin cancer. Wear sunscreen or a hat. Remember the ladies who always wore big hats? They were on to something. But sometimes, staying in the shade or covering up is not practical. Wear sunscreen. Take special care to put it on sensitive areas that are easy to forget about, like ears, neck, or bottom of your chin (especially if you’re out on the water where sun rays reflect up). And be particularly careful of any areas which have been radiated!
Keep an eye out for signs of edema. Many people have more trouble with swelling when it’s hot and humid. Staying hydrated can help with this. You may find you have no more trouble during hot weather than any other time, but pay attention so you know how your body reacts. – I know that when I hike in hot/humid weather, I tend to puff up quite a bit in my hands and arms. I’ve always done this, but now it can be harder for my body to process the fluid. I usually wear my compression sleeve and glove when hiking now. It may not be the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn hiking, but from experience, I’ve learned it’s better to be cautious. And it really isn’t that uncomfortable compared to a swollen hand.
And finally, a reminder that if you are getting out into nature, be respectful. Do nothing to harm the place you’ve gone to enjoy yourself. Carry out your litter! If you carry it in, carry it out! Do not leave toilet paper – bury it or carry it out in a plastic bag. You think that’s gross, don’t want to do it? Imagine just how gross it is for the rest of us when we come across your waste. Imagine how you would feel if you walked into someone’s home and saw piles of human waste in the corner. (sorry to be so blunt, but really, it’s nasty and I’m so tired of walking through someone else’s latrine.) If the trail is muddy, walk through it – that’s what boots are for. If you and every other person walks around, you end up eroding the surrounding terrain, creating an ever-widening mud pool and destroying more plants. And never harass the flora and fauna. Just let them be. Don’t pick every pretty flower. Don’t rip limbs off of trees to build a fire. Don’t poke or try to kill animals and reptiles. Just go around them; let them be. Do get out and enjoy nature, just do it respectfully.