Enjoy the outdoors — safely

11238523_SThe sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The wind is gentle. It is simply a beautiful day to be outside! But the great outdoors also can be unpredictable. Whether you are by yourself or with friends and family, here are some tips to help you safely enjoy the outdoors.

Know the hazards: Take the time to know the local hazards. Even if it is an area with which you are quite familiar, you might be surprised at the hidden hazards. This can include sudden weather changes, dangerous animals or plants, and even hazardous traffic patterns.

Dress appropriately: Take the time to dress for the outdoor occasion. A simple walk will require different clothing than a long hike, bike ride, or a jog. It is also important to consider the weather forecast.Your attire may include layers, bright clothing, proper shoes, a hat and even sunglasses.

Stay hydrated: Take the time to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Even if you don’t think you will need it, carry a water bottle of some sort. If you don’t want to carry it, research options for accessories to carry water bottles.

Share your plans: Take the time to let someone know where you are going. Ideally, you will take a “buddy” with you on your outing; however, this isn’t always practical or desired. Make sure someone knows your plans and what time you expect to return.

Extra accessories: Take the time to plan what you will need for your outing. It might include sunscreen, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. Each of these can be found in small and easy-to-transport sizes. You also will want to take your phone with you; just make sure it is properly charged and don’t spend your entire time outside checking your email or social networks.

Be alert: Stay alert to your surroundings and take breaks as needed. And remain calm in any unexpected situation. Now go enjoy the outdoors!