On Memorial Day, we honor members of the military who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The federal holiday also marks the unofficial start of summer, and I'm sure many of you will be spending time outdoors this weekend.

1. It's a safe way to meet up with friends and family who aren't yet fully vaccinated. It is very rare for Covid-19 to be transmitted outdoors.

2. Spending time in nature is good for your health. Many studies have found health benefits of spending time outdoors, including lower probabilities of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses. According to this study, people who had spent at least 120 minutes in nature in the past week reported higher levels of health and well-being.

3. Being outdoors has mental health benefits, too. Whether you’re exercising or relaxing, being in a beautiful natural setting can help lower your stress level and improve your mood. It’s a great excuse to visit a forest or a body of water, especially after spending so much time indoors during the pandemic.

Stay Safe and Healthy While You’re Outdoors

  • Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. You know sun protection is important, so make it a daily habit, even when it’s cloudy. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, so if you haven’t used yours in a while, check the expiration date.
  • Protect your family from insect bites. Ticks and mosquitoes can carry illnesses, some of which are serious—like Lyme disease. This article has tips on limiting your exposure. Insect repellent alone may not offer enough protection.

Always take safety precautions. No matter what outdoor activity you have planned, keep your family’s safety in mind. Here are some reminders for staying safe while swimming or boating. Even yard work can be dangerous, but these tips offer safety guidance for everything from riding mowers to pressure washers.