As if this past winter wasn’t bad enough, we experienced an exceptionally rainy spring. As I write in the first week of July, it’s the first day in about 18 that we haven’t had any rain in Ottawa. What a relief to finally enjoy time outdoors without the need to carry a rain jacket or an umbrella, and without worrying about plans being disrupted by a downpour.
Now that I’m feeling like summer is finally here, I’m thinking about what I want to do while the weather is beautiful. You can use my list as a starting point for your own ideas based on personal preferences. While it may seem obvious, it’s all too easy for Facebook addicts (myself included) and workaholics to let the hours and days slip by. Spending more time outdoors being active is good for your physical and mental health.
Play ball. If you have young children or grandchildren, you may have enrolled them in a sports team such as soccer or Little League. Games and practices mean lots of sitting around for parents. Instead of being a passive observer, why not get moving while your children are active? Bring a soccer ball and kick it around with another parent or bring a softball and play pitch and catch. You can still watch your little darlings and cheer them on while getting in some exercise. If you’re not at that stage of life, there are other ways to enjoy a game of ball. Think back to your youth and the games you played in the school yard or on the street such as dodge ball or champ. There’s no age restriction on ball games. Get some friends or family members together for a friendly competition. If you’re on your own, take a bat and a ball to a park and practice hitting and fetching the ball.
Get wet. Jump in a lake or a pool. Do some laps. Splash about. Toss around a beach ball. Summer is so short. Embrace it. If you don’t have a swimming pool, take advantage of your local community centre or public swimming pool. You’re likely to see friends and other familiar faces. You’ll benefit from the fresh air, sunshine and the feeling of water on your skin. If you have a cottage or can get to a lake or a public beach, you’ll also enjoy the psychological benefits of the natural surroundings.
Cook and dine al fresco. Who wants to spend hours cooking over a hot stove when you can grill outdoors? Savour the flavours of summer on the patio or have a picnic in a park. Lighter, heart-healthy meals are relatively easy to prepare. Skip the drive-thru. Say no to pizza delivery. Summer is about fresh produce. Nothing says summer like peaches and cream, corn on the cob, and locally grown berries. How about some grilled fish, asparagus and sweet watermelon? My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the delicious, nutritious whole foods that are abundant in July and August. Cut up your favourite veggies, drizzle them with olive oil, season to taste and wrap them in foil. Roast them on the barbeque while grilling your protein and in a few minutes you’ll have a wonderful meal that will dazzle your taste buds.
Book your health checks. While making the most of summer and getting outdoors as much as possible, don’t neglect your health. If you don’t want to be cooped up in doctors’ offices in the summer, take a few minutes to book non-urgent appointments for the fall. Are you due for a physical with your physician? Some appointments are somewhat unpleasant so we tend to procrastinate. Schedule that mammogram or other important test. Book your eye exam. Don’t forget a dental checkup. Ask your doctor if you should have your hearing tested. And don’t overlook your feet. Feet tend to flatten with age. As a result, many seniors wear the wrong size shoes. Regardless of your age, if your shoes are ill-fitting, if you have bunions, corns, blisters, or foot pain, consider booking an appointment with a foot specialist. If you have new or changing moles or a history of skin abnormalities, make an appointment with a dermatologist. You may need to get referrals from your family doctor.
After you’re done booking your appointments, get back outside and enjoy what’s left of summer!