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Nourishment and Protection

Jennifer Oechsner

I spent the 4th of July weekend rafting on the Deschutes river. It was a wonderful trip and a much needed break. We contemplated not going because of the extreme heat but in the end decided the heat and sun would just add to the adventure. When we got to the river Thursdaynight just before dark, the heat of the day was still heavy in the air. By the time we got settled in and were relaxing by the river, the moon had come out to greet us. The full moon shone brightly over the river, the basalt cliffs loomed over us and the warm air enveloped my skin. The scene was magnificent, the backdrop set for what was sure to be an amazing weekend. We would just have to remember to take care of ourselves.

I love summer and I have definitely had more than my share of days purposefully baking in the sun seeking to achieve that "perfect golden tan". Growing up in the midwest, we didn't have much time so sometimes we even used baby oil to really get a good burn. I know, crazy right! Thankfully, the baby oil burns are years behind me and I am much older and wiser now. Even though I am more careful than I used to be I do still love the sun and sometimes get so wrapped up in outdoor fun I forget to protect my skin and stay hydrated. 

On our trip to the Deschutes I was determined not to get a miserable sunburn and was well aware of the need to drink a lot of water in the extreme heat. (the temperature broke 100 every day!). Even in the morning hours I was sure to apply my SPF 30 sunscreen liberally and reapplied several times throughout the day. I protected my skin with a long sleeve shirt in the heat of the afternoon and the only time I didn't wear my hat was in the water and after the sun went down. 

When choosing what strength of sunscreen you should get, its beneficial to understand the difference. Here is a LINK to a helpful diagram that breaks down the efficacy of different strengths, explains the different types of rays and their effects, and gives recommendations for frequency of application.

As a nutritionist and personal trainer, I often talk to my clients about the importance of staying hydrated. Sufficient hydration is important for digestive health, skin health, can reduce joint pain and helps us to flush waste products out through our sweat and urine. On an average day I aim to drink 75 ounces of water. Add 100 degree heat into the mix and I knew I needed a lot more. My goal was a gallon. (unfortunately I didn't quite make it).

It was a wonderful weekend rich in laughter, stunning scenery and relaxing floats down the river. I feel blessed to have had the chance to experience it and to live in a place that is lush with so much amazing natural beauty. I am pleased that I enjoyed my weekend mindfully and managed to take care of myself along the way. 

I hope you all are having a safe and enjoyable summer so far. What have you been up? Share your summer adventures and photos on my Facebook page. Stay cool, stay protected and stay hydrated.