Getting Ready for Your Outdoor Summer

Have you spent the year indoors, studying or working or doing some other necessary but unadventurous job? Now it’s summer, so you’re ready to duck into a phone booth and emerge as an outdoor action hero.

Great idea. Just take a minute or to get ready.

Have you been sedentary? If you’ve really been chained to your desk for a while, that first day out might not be fun. Here are some things to think about:

  • DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, is the #1 reason who start being active choose to stop again. If you’ve been sitting most of the time and you start out with a three mile hike, you may feel invigorated that evening and not too bad the next day, but on the second day after your adventure, you’ll feel terrible. Aches, pains — some people think they’ve got the flu. Others determine never to go outside again. Avoid this by working your way up to ambitious physical feats. Start with something just a little outside your comfort zone and add on a little more distance or difficulty the next time you go out. Challenge yourself a little more each day and you’ll be fine.
  • Blisters keep you from developing that routine that can get you in shape for summer sports. Again, work your way up to more challenges, but also choose your shoes and socks for comfort. Try them on, walk in them, and be aware of any points where they rub against tender skin. Thick socks, well-fitting shoes, and some moleskin or Bandaids at pressure points will keep your feet happy.
  • Know what you’re getting into. It’s all very well to say not to push yourself too hard at first, but what if you’re meeting the car at the other end of the trail or floating down the river and then climbing up to the lodge? Check the map and be realistic.

Once you’ve chosen a good initial challenge, pack smart:

  • Use sunscreen. Sunburns are no fun, and long-term sun damage is really no fun.
  • Carry water. You can’t be sure you’ll find drinkable water when you’re out in the wilderness, or even on the walking trail. Use a water bottle that you can attach to something, not one you have to physically carry in your hand, or choose a Camelbak or similar water bladder for your backpack.
  • If you’re heading into the wilderness, wear layers, and plan an outer layer that gives you some protection from ticks, mosquitoes, and sun. Modern sports gear is made of super light, comfortable fibers, so long pants won’t automatically mean overheating, and they can keep you from spending the evening after your adventure picking ticks out of your legs.

That’s it. Develop a routine, get the gear you need, and enjoy an active summer.

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