With spring right around the corner, it's time to get outdoors and enjoy the sun! Whether you plan to spend the season relaxing on a sunny beach or if it's time to pull your bike out of storage and get pedaling, it's important to keep yourself and those around you safe. Look after yourself and your loved ones this spring and summer with our quick guide to outdoor activity safety.
When it comes to hiking, the more prepared you are the better. Before you even consider setting out on an adventure, you'll want to know your limits. National parks offer a wide range of trails to accommodate varying skill levels. Once you’ve determined which trail you want to hike, it's time to start planning.
The first order of business is to leave a trip plan with a loved one so they know where to find you. Secondly, you'll want to make an emergency plan in case you or your hiking buddy gets lost or injured. Consider learning CPR and basic wilderness first aid. Last but not least, be sure to pack the necessities — food, water (16 ounces per mile), first aid kit, etc. You can never be too prepared!
Choosing the right campsite. Make sure the campground is easy to navigate and access in the case of an emergency. Part of choosing a campsite is staying up-to-date on the latest weather reports. It's a good idea to plan camping trips ahead of time to be proactive. And just like hiking, you'll want to let your loved ones know where you are!
Bringing the right supplies. All of the preparation tips for hiking also apply to camping. With that in mind, there are a few new factors to consider. Before you head out, be sure to stop by the store for sunscreen, insect repellent and any allergy medications you might need. It's also a good idea to learn about the terrain you'll be camping on. Pack accordingly.
General campfire safety. Once you've set up camp, you'll want to practice campfire safety. Keep the fire at least 15 feet away from tents, shrubs and trees. Keep your fire small and contained in a designated fire pit and never leave it unattended! Always keep a bucket of water nearby to put the fire out. To help prevent wildfires, make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving. Following these guidelines will make for a safe and happy camping experience.
Jogging or Walking
If you're going for a jog or walk, consider using the buddy system and sticking to a familiar route. If you insist on exercising at night, do so in a well-lit space with reflective gear so that you're highly visible to traffic — and be sure to go against traffic so you have time to see cars heading your way. Lastly, you'll want to carry a whistle to summon help if needed.
Before using your bicycle, confirm that it's ready to ride. You should always inspect your bike to make sure everything is secure and working properly before you head out. When you set off, remember to wear a properly fitted helmet and attire that makes you easy to spot. Just like jogging, road biking can be very dangerous at night. It's already difficult enough to watch out for road hazards like potholes and broken glass during the day, let alone with limited visibility. If you're only able to hit the streets in the afterhours, be sure to wear reflective clothing and use a light!
Buy yourself more time by the water by drinking plenty of water and keeping yourself protected from the sun. And if you plan on going for a dip, be sure to do so with company — and preferably near the lifeguard tower! Even the most skilled swimmers can get caught in a dangerous riptide.
Whatever spring and summer activities you choose to enjoy, be sure to find ways to keep yourself and those around you as safe as can be. If you're hoping to focus on improving your health with fun activities this spring, El Camino Health has you covered with a variety of classes and events. Check out our event schedule to learn more.
This article first appeared in the March 2022 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.