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Tips To Enjoy Outdoor Recreation

Picture this. It's 12:30 p.m. Your sunglasses are floating down your nose on a sweat-enduced current that originates deep within your scalp and works its way down your forehead until it reaches the tip of your nose. The dog is lying outstretched on the ground, his tongue attempting to escape the heat of his mouth only to encounter worse conditions on the outside. You go to take a sip of your iced tea, but the sugar has come out of solution and rests at the bottom of your glass, the water long-since evaporated. You would get up to get another drink, but your shirtless body is stuck to the back of the plastic lawn chair.

Do you have a good picture now? Do you know where you are? It's summer, and the only way you're going to enjoy life outside your house is either by living the rest of your life under the sea, or moving to Antarctica or Siberia. There's no way you're going to go hiking this weekend in these conditions. Right?

Wrong. The largest outdoor Web site on the Internet, — Great Outdoor Recreation Pages — offers these seven tips to enjoy outdoor recreation:

  • Be sensible; you don't have to abandon your plans. Consider your overall fitness level before venturing out in this kind of weather. It can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or a heart condition.

  • Pick a place carefully, one that has shade and a nearby water source.

  • Take plenty of water. Electrolyte replacement drinks help replenish salts and potassium, which are lost when you sweat. Drink them in diluted quantities of about half strength — they'll do the job and last longer.

  • Immerse yourself. Take opportunities to cool down by jumping into whatever body of water is handy. Periodically dampen a bandanna and wipe your face, neck and arms.

  • Go easy on the mileage and don't plan huge elevation gains.

  • Bring some sort of treatment for blisters. Heat causes feet to swell and sweat, both of which contribute to blistering.

  • Wear clothing that wicks sweat from your skin — a polyester T-shirt, not cotton. Be sure that if you're prone to chafing, you wear shorts that are long enough to prevent it.

© 2001 Health Resources Publishing