Welcome to Summer!
This time of year, we try to spend as much time as we can outdoors. We value our outdoor spaces, and our appreciation for the outdoors spans generations. According to a recent Casual Living survey, 85 percent of Millennials rated outdoor rooms as “very important” or “important,” compared with 74 percent of Baby Boomers. This same survey reported that 24 percent of Baby Boomers spend more time outdoors during summer than during the rest of the year.
Gardening is a particularly popular interest among Baby Boomers. In 2015, US consumers will spend more than $7 billion on outdoor plants, containers, supplies, and other gardening tools. These outdoor spaces bring us many benefits. We treat them as extensions of ourselves and make conscious decisions to use plants and gardens as tools for increasing our overall well-being, leading a sustainable lifestyle, and having a positive effect in our communities and on the planet.
Gardening involves cultivating unique varieties of plants that are not only fun to grow but taste better than supermarket varieties. Even urban residents who have no more than a small patio outdoors are joining the movement by raising small container plants such as tomatoes, peppers, herbs, or strawberries. If you are among those with limited space, choose select varieties of plants for containers that will continue to replenish themselves as you harvest them. For those with backyard gardens, try plant varieties that thrive on more space, such as purple carrots, beans, and various peppers.
Many other activities can bring us outside this summer. We took a poll among our own readers and found that more than 30 percent of you participate in outdoor exercises such as walking and hiking in the summer. We found other popular outdoor activities include water sports, biking, camping, and going to the beach. Although 40 percent who go to the beach don’t go in the water! We also found the most popular outdoor activity is spending time with family and friends. Whether time with family outdoors is a backyard barbeque, picnic, attending a sporting event, or just relaxing, it is clear our time spent outside is meant to be time we share with those we love.
As you prepare for summer, we have a few safety tips to remember. First, always wear sunscreen and apply it often—even on cloudy days. There’s nothing worse than suffering from sunburn after a fun day outdoors. Check the label to avoid the nasty, unhealthy ingredients in some mainstream sunscreens. For more information, visit our website homepage and follow the “sunscreen tips” we have listed. Next, stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, especially when performing outdoor activities. While you might enjoy the occasional indulgence, remember that soft drinks and alcoholic beverages won’t keep you hydrated—so alternate with glasses of water. Finally, and most importantly, be safe—whether you’re doing water sports (make sure you have life vests) or physical activities you’re not accustomed to. Don’t strain yourself.
I hope you enjoy the summer, catch some sun, and maybe even end up a little bit healthier by Labor Day!