Another trip around the sun and summer is here again! Summer brings with it diverse opportunities for everyone to get out and have fun. Around this time every year, I have this flashback from my youth. School is letting out for summer and my dad is pulling the cover off our boat. My mother meanwhile is getting our hiking gear together and packing up our circus-sized family tent. I can remember calling my friends to ask if they could come out and play. Nick’s mom tells me he is getting ready for baseball practice. Hunter was prepping for a trip to Disneyland. Alex was getting ready for his job as a lifeguard. What do all of these activities have in common? Well, sunshine of course.
Whatever your activity this summer, remember the basic safety precautions when spending time outside. Remember to stay hydrated. The summer heat can creep up on us, and sometimes we are so distracted having fun that we forget to drink water. No matter the activity, you should have a water bottle close by. While there are different opinions on how much water you should consume daily, a good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half to determine the number of ounces you should drink. So a person weighing 160 pounds should aim for 80 ounces a day. However, that is just a general guideline. Each person’s needs will vary, and those of us living in the desert are likely going to need more than that, especially if we’ll be outside.
For example, the outdoor experts at REI recommend hikers consume a minimum of a half-liter (about 17 ounces) per hour in moderate temperatures, and up to a full liter (about 34 ounces) per hour if hiking in high heat. Be sure to do some research for proper hydration based on your specific activity.
And what is the best thing to put in your water bottle you might ask? For a majority of people, the answer is simple: water. While some endurance activities may require additional electrolytes, most of us just need good, clean water. It is the best way to properly hydrate your body—not a sugary sports drink or soda. So find a nice reusable water bottle this summer and make it your best friend.
Speaking of outdoor fun, what’s bright red and not having any fun this summer? You with a sunburn! Sunscreen is crucial for any outdoor activity, even if you are only outside for a short while. Remember to pack sunscreen with you and reapply at least every two hours. One tip from the American Cancer Society is to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Who’s got you covered this summer? Who’s got your back? A good summer friend with some sunscreen. If you are going to be in the pool, remember to allow time for your sunscreen to absorb before diving in. Also, it is important to note that “water resistant” sunscreen does not mean “water proof.” If you are spending the day swimming, you should reapply at least every hour.
Let’s talk a little more about pool safety. Swimming pools are a great place to beat the heat, but parents and swimmers need to take certain precautions. Remember my tip about hydration? Well the pool is no different. It is often easy to forget to hydrate when surrounded by water but, believe it or not, your body is still losing water, so drink up! What has blue lips but still refuses to get out of the pool? Your kiddo with signs of hypothermia. We don’t often associate hypothermia with our 110-degree summers, but it can happen. Parents be mindful of long days at the pool with your child getting in and out of the water. If you find yourself at a public pool this summer remember to familiarize yourself with the posted rules and do not hesitate to talk with a lifeguard if you need help. For those of you with backyard pools, make it a point to talk with your children about the dangers of swimming and remind them of the basic rules when playing around water. And as our friends at the Golder Ranch Fire District like to remind us, be sure there is always a designated adult to watch children in the pool. And when pool time is over and all the kids are safely out of the pool area, be sure to close and secure the gate.
If you want to ensure your kids are ready for a summer at the pool, the Oro Valley Aquatic Center offers group swim lessons March through October. We’ve also got a Family Summer Pass and $5 Sunday Family Fun Days. If you are still stumped for summer family activities, Oro Valley Parks and Recreation can help you out. Oro Valley is offering eight diverse youth summer camp opportunities for all ages and interests, from engineering to sports.
Adults, we haven’t forgotten about you! There are many ways to be fit in the OV this summer, from a fitness membership at the Community Center to hiking in Honey Bee Canyon. Get outside for a game of tennis, a round of golf or a spin on our multi-use paths. Check out the Summer 2019 Program Guide for all the details.
For more information on summer camps, memberships and opportunities, visit orovalleyaz.gov and be sure to follow Oro Valley Parks and Recreation on social media.
Brandon Laue is the Oro Valley Aquatic Center Manager.