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Summer Activities Keep This USAF FitFamily Happy and Safe!

With summer officially upon us, it’s time to take to the outdoors with fun summertime activities! It’s also time to understand and apply safety precautions for all summer activities. The Hodson/Porritt family, the July USAF FitFamily featured member, share how they stay active, have fun and keep safe during these long, hot, dog-days of summer!

USAF FitFamily GoalTracker helps the family compete from a distance!
TSGT Jeff Hodson, 802 LRS/LGRV is deployed to Seychelles, while Colleen Porritt and daughter Sevrine (7) are in Arizona anxiously awaiting his return. During the separation, Sevrine tracks her activities on the FitFamily GoalTracker and is quick to compare how she and Mom are performing versus Jeff. It’s a close race with Jeff leading in points, but the ladies lead in the number of activities!

Safe Swimming – a favorite summer activity!
Sevrine loves to swim, swim, swim – and the first safety rule for this activity is no swimming without an adult! In fact Colleen sets further boundaries by applying the “not allowed outside alone” rule to Sevrine as well. “We respect the sun and apply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating,” said Colleen. “Staying hydrated is something we always do in anticipation of any outdoor activity, and making certain Sevrine is appropriately dressed is so important, especially in the Arizona heat!”

This FitFamily loves to run year-round!
It’s not just a summer sport or classified as a “kids-only” activity, running is something the Hodson/Porritt’s does together as a family and individually, all year long. Mostly they participate in events like the Arizona Roadracers Summer Series that includes a kid fun run (according to Colleen, Sevrine isn’t satisfied with the kid’s race, she wants to go the distance)! But some days they map out their own running route together and Sevrine will ride her bike or scooter. In all cases protection from the outdoor elements is required. A hat or helmet (for the bike or scooter), sunglasses, continued hydration and UV appropriate clothing are a regular part of their routine. Colleen adds, “During the summer we try to run during the coolest part of the day.”

Make mundane chores fun and safe!
Turn on the music and start the chores – that’s one way this FitFamily keeps their child engaged in seemingly mundane activities all summer long. Colleen and her mom do all they can to make all activities into an enjoyable experience for Sevrine. Summer reading includes books like Harriet the Spy and Judy Blume stories where they play out their own characters by going on “observation walks” and making discovery notes in a journal. Sidewalk safety is reviewed carefully before each walk, as well as how to greet neighborhood dogs by never reaching for their heads and never touch an unfamiliar dog without an adult present.

Consider new things from the FitFamily site!
According to Colleen, Sevrine needs no motivation for summer fun! She loves to participate in outdoor activities with Colleen and Jeff like walking the length of the Riverwalk in San Antonio where Jeff’s permanent duty assignment is Lackland AFB. Most recently Colleen was reminded by Sevrine that trampoline fitness was listed on the FitFamily site and yes, she’s added a trampoline to her “wish list”! 

Invite family and friends to use USAF and
FitFamily offers service members and their families a wealth of resources and information on proper nutrition, sports and fitness, games, educational projects and a host of other tips and ideas to keep a family fit. Plus the newest section in USAF FitFamily called USAF LivingFit was designed to help US Air Force members and their families achieve their weight loss goals.

Keep these additional Summer Safety Tips in mind when exercising in the summer heat:
   • The time of day is important. Unless you are training for an event that takes place
     in the daytime heat, avoid exercising from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's the hottest part of
     day. Generally, the early morning is the best time to workout, especially if it's going
     to be scorcher that day.
   • Wear loose, light-colored. The lighter color will help reflect heat and cotton material
     will help the evaporation of sweat. You may also want to try specially designed,
     "hi-tech" running shirts and shorts. They are often made from material meant to
     keep you cool.
   • Sunscreen is a must. Use SPF 45 just to be safe. It's important to protect your
     skin. You can get burned and suffer sun damage to your skin even on cloudy days.
   • Stay hydrated. Before you go out, drink a glass or two of water. Carry a bottle
     of water or even a hydration pack on longer trips. Take a drink every 15 minutes,
     even when you're not thirsty.
     When you're done with your workout, have a few more glasses of water.
   • Replenish your electrolyte and salt intake while exercising. Several simple
     products are available to help keep your system in check.
   • When possible, choose shaded trails or pathways that keep you out of the sun.
   • Check the weather forecast before you start your workout. If there's a heat
     advisory, meaning high ozone and air pollution, you might want to take your
     workout indoors. These pollutants can damage your lungs.
   • Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop immediately if you're feeling dizzy, faint
     or nauseous.

Be safe and have a great FitFamily summer!


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