Fun in the Sun: GHP’s Guide to Healthy Fun in a Socially Distant Summer

July 14, 2020

The summer is a great time to get outside with family and friends and participate in the many healthy recreational activities Michigan has to offer – from bicycling to hiking to kayaking.

While this is a summer like no other, it is still possible to celebrate the season during the COVID-19 pandemic. At Genesee Health Plan, your health and safety are our top priority. We want to make sure you have a fun summer while following proper social distancing guidelines to protect your family’s health.  

Here are six tips for enjoying summer activities safely:

1. Maintain social distancing, even when you’re outside.

While you’re enjoying Michigan’s great outdoors, maintain social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This means limiting face-to-face contact with others and keeping 6 feet of space between yourself and anyone who lives outside of your household. The State of Michigan guidelines require individuals to wear a mask or face covering while being indoors at restaurants, stores, etc. and to also wear it outdoors if social distancing cannot be maintained.

Safe outdoor recreation is a win-win for physical and mental health! Take a walk or hike, visit a park or beach, and participate in other healthy outdoor activities this summer.

Even if you’re spending time outside, be sure to take hand sanitizer and masks with you in case you need to step inside a building to use a restroom or purchase food or drinks.

2. Enjoy local and state parks.

Opportunities for exercise and fresh air are abundant with local and state parks. Genesee County Parks has seen an uptick in visitors recently and is happy to offer healthy recreation opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Genesee County Parks urges visitors to be safe and practice proper social distancing, and to stay home if you are sick. Find a full list of parks in Genesee County.

If you want to visit a state park, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires that a Recreational Passport be purchased in order to visit these parks, or you can also pay a daily entrance fee for the park. Find parks, trails and campgrounds. Find Recreational Passport purchasing options.

Be aware that drinking fountains remain closed in state parks and many other areas. It’s a good idea to pack your own reusable water bottle to stay hydrated on hot summer days.

3. Have a day at the beach.

Buttercup Beach, Columbiaville MI

Buttercup Beach, Clover Beach and Bluebell Beach remain open. In addition to following social distancing guidelines, be sure pack the essentials before making your way to the beach.

In addition to typical beach must-brings like sunscreen, hats and umbrellas, you’ll want to pack face masks and hand sanitizer. Be conscious about the possibility of heat exhaustion and be sure to reapply sunscreen frequently, especially if you’re venturing into the water.

Plan ahead because there is limited access to restrooms and some local stores and restaurants may still be closed.  

4. Take your furry friend for a walk.

Many parks allow leashed dogs. This is a great way to have some fun, get exercise and experience the outdoors.

Remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them. You also should bring a small dish to share your water with your furry best friend.

5. Go camping.

Spend a night under the stars with your family by camping. Many state and local parks, including Genesee County’s Wolverine Campground, re-opened for camping on June 22. Before booking your trip, call the campground ahead of time to check on their COVID-19 guidelines and precautions they are taking to help keep campers safe.

To minimize your risk, avoid contact with people from outside your household and be cautious when sharing public facilities, like restrooms or picnic areas. Consider packing a cooler of campfire-friendly food so you can avoid restaurants and be sure to take plenty of water.

6. Remember, standard summer recommendations apply.

COVID-19 certainly brings about extra precautions to take this summer but remember standard summer health recommendations still apply. There are several simple things you can do to beat the heat this summer. Make sure to drink plenty of water and think about nutritious, hydrating snacks like fruits and vegetables.

If possible, limit your time outside to avoid the hottest parts of the day, typically between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you are outdoors, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your face. Wearing light colored, loose fitting clothing is another way to stay a little cooler.

Remember if you’re going outside, you can avoid insect bites by staying away from stagnant water or heavily wooded areas. If bitten, you can treat bites by applying an ice pack and taking the recommended amount of Benadryl for itching. Don’t forget most of these recommendations apply to your pets, too!

The team at the Genesee Health Plan hopes you take advantage of all the opportunities to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors – both locally and across the state – while being extra mindful of COVID-19 precautions.

As always, if you need access to health care coverage or resources, visit our website or give us a call at (844) 232-7740 for more information.

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