15 August 2008

5 great tips for the outdoors

Being outdoors in the fresh air is always good for the mind, body and soul. It could be a good way to relax and just chill out in the sun. Have a look at these great outdoor tips.

Being outdoors in the fresh air is always good for the mind, body and soul. It could be a good way to relax and just chill out in the sun, especially on weekends or during the holidays. Have a look at these great outdoor tips:

Avoid being thunderstruck
Experts are warning against the outdoor use of cell phones during stormy weather after a 15-year-old girl was struck by lightning while using her cell phone in a London park. However, if you want to avoid being thunderstruck, this isn't the only precaution you should take.

Take action:
Get inside during a thunderstorm, and don't use a landline telephone; avoid using electrical appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers; don't take a shower or wash dishes – lightning can travel through water pipes; don't stand near an open window on a hot day when there's a lightning storm – as the heat leaves the house through the window, it becomes a conduit for lightning; if you find yourself stuck outside, avoid wide-open spaces and don't stand under a tree – the saline composition of your blood makes you a better conductor of electricity than the tree.

Take time out to make a compost heap
You can easily make your own compost heap in your backyard. Use a large, aerated refuse bin, or a wooden or wire crate. The compost heap/container should be at least one square metre.

Take action:
You'll need: mixed organic matter: chop/shred the organic matter, e.g. grass cuttings, fruit and veggie peels, tea bags, egg shells, paper etc., before adding it; soil: add new layers of composting material to the top along with fresh soil (this introduces organisms that will help with the decomposition process); water: keep the compost moist, but not sodden, and make sure the lower layers get water too; air: turn and aerate the contents every second day or so.

To avoid pests and smells, don’t add meat and dairy scraps. Also don't add human or animal waste, animal carcasses, pesticides or other chemicals.

Spring has sprung, and summer's on the way
Spring is a season of new life and new beginnings. This is the best time to start new projects and explore the world as it changes. Why not try these spring suggestions for making this season special?

Take action:
Head out into nature – take a hike and watch for the summer birds that are returning; throw out old clothes, magazines, medicines (speak to your doctor about where to do this) and junk mail – getting rid of clutter helps you feel more energetic and organised; as the weather warms, it becomes a lot easier to exercise – long sunset walks and beach volleyball are fun on hot spring days; go over the past year's relationships, choices and experiences – accept the lessons you've learnt, and don't beat yourself up about any bad decisions.

Pack healthy snacks
It's nearing the end of the year, where families and holidaymakers set out for the long country roads. Are you one of the lucky ones? Pack healthy snacks this year – and avoid the monotony of tasteless toasties and greasy burgers that could be your only alternative. Have a look at these useful tips which could help you in your journey:

Take action:
Know how long your trip will take and stock up on supplies. Also bring ice packs and a cooler bag, and restock it every day. Make healthy sandwiches by using whole wheat bread, mustard instead of butter or margarine, and lean meat fillings, such as ostrich biltong or chicken. Also pack strips of vegetables for snacking and fresh fruit for dessert. And remember to stay well-hydrated while you're on the road (just don't overdo things - drinking too much water can be dangerous!).

Be careful during bundu-bashing
When you're planning to give your Land Rover more of a workout than mounting the pavement at the shopping centre, there are a few things you have to remember to take with you, in case your good luck fairy decides to stay home.

Take action:
Make sure you pack: plasters and decent bandages; a pair of tweezers; antiseptic lotion; painkillers; anti-diarrhoea medication; malaria medication, if necessary (your pharmacist should be able to tell you); antihistamine tablets; high-factor sunblock; insect repellant; a snakebite kit, if necessary (find out how likely snakebites are to occur in the area for which you're heading); rehydration medication; and broad-spectrum antibiotics.

(Health24, October 2006)



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