Published: May 15, 2019

Summer is just around the corner. That means you’ll have more opportunities to get outdoors, soak up some vitamin D and get active. Follow these tips to maximize your Colorado summer.

Hiking in ColoradoOutdoor exposure

300 days of sunshine combined with high altitudes make Colorado a great spot to catch a sunburn. Minimize the risks while still enjoying our especially great outdoors with these guidelines:

  • Apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 half an hour before heading outside. Reapply every couple of hours to avoid burns.
  • Wear protective clothing like sunglasses, hats and long-sleeved shirts if you’re out in the sun for a while.
  • Know the signs of dehydration, and always drink plenty of water. If you’re taking a pet out on the trails with you, be sure you’re carrying enough water for them, too!
  • Invest in mosquito and other bug repellants if you'll be hiking, biking, camping or spending time in wooded areas.
  • If you'll be exercising outdoors, try to stay in the shade, or go in the early mornings and evenings when temperatures are lower and the sun isn't directly above you.

Biking

With plenty of designated lanes and trails, Boulder is the perfect place to log some miles on your bike. Whether you’re commuting to work, stopping by the farmer’s market, or heading up to Chautauqua, keep these tips in mind:

  • You already know that helmets greatly reduce the risk of brain injury—so wear yours with pride!
  • If you'll be riding at night, make sure you’re riding with your lights on. You’ll also want to invest in reflectors for your bike and your clothes.
  • Know the laws and follow them. Ride with the flow of traffic, stay in your lane and use hand signals. It’s illegal to ride with headphones in, so unplug before you pedal.
  • When riding with friends, stay single-file to allow cars, pedestrians and other cyclists to use the roads and paths alongside you.
  • Biking is subject to the same DUI laws as driving in Colorado. So, if you've been drinking, it’s better to stay off the bike.

Looking for activities this summer?

Here are some Boulder activities to try:

Camping

Rocky Mountain National Park is right in our backyard, and there's no better way to explore it than with a camping trip. Whether you’re staying local or heading out of town, here’s what we recommend:

  • Speak with your primary care provider about any vaccinations you may want depending on where you'll be camping.
  • Check the rules and regulations of Rocky Mountain National Park before heading out.
  • Avoid food poisoning by packing food in tight, waterproof containers and keeping your cooler insulated. Be sure to sanitize your hands often. Separate raw foods from cooked foods, and cook meats to the appropriate temperature (bring along a meat thermometer to be sure).
  • Be smart about drinking water. Bring along your own bottled water, or research the water treatment method that works best for you. More information on doing so can be found on the CDC website.
  • Keep a first-aid kit stocked and ready to go. Review your basic health skills before leaving, like how to identify poison ivy, what to do if you see a wild animal, how to disinfect a cut and CPR.
  • Get social with the buddy system. Have someone looking out in case of an emergency and do the same for them, whether you’re hiking, kayaking, swimming or climbing.
  • Have all the gear you need ready to go. If you’re not ready to make the full investment, the Outdoor Program through the Rec Center rents out all kinds of gear to CU Boulder students!

If you have any questions about summer health, make an appointment with Wardenburg Health Services. This can be done online at or by calling the Medical Clinic at 303-492-5432.

Healthy Buffs is a weekly series with tips and information on a variety of health topics important to college students. Learn more at colorado.edu/health.