By Tia Wayling, recreation services co-ordinator with the Regional District of Central Kootenay
Every year, we cross our fingers that wildfires are kept to a minimum so we can enjoy clear skies in the summer months. This year, with the weather so dry and hot, it was a given that we would see some wildfires locally. I always feel saddened that older adults and those with respiratory issues find it challenging to participate in summer fun. Outdoor activities that involve physical exertion can be non-negotiable with smoky weather.
Nobody wants to spend the entire summer cooped up inside their home. We just spent the last eighteen months doing that. And, do you remember the smoky skies of 2018? I vividly remember spending nine weeks stuck inside with newborn twins. I felt like a caged animal and wish that upon nobody. I’m here to provide you with some ideas or inspiration to make the most out of a smoky sky summer.
One idea would be to hop in the car and go for a drive to a nearby town and have lunch at a popular eatery or visit some tourist attractions you may not have previously visited. Just remember to hit the “re-circulate” button on your air conditioning to reduce air intake from outside. We have some marvelous attractions and stores to visit within the Kootenay region. You might even find a city or town that has better air quality to breathe a little easier.
Some outdoor exposure can be tolerable if the smoke isn’t too bad and exertion isn’t required. Just spending time by the water fishing, skipping stones, rock balancing (Google it), or the occasional dip can be delightful. If you’ve got children or grandchildren, get creative with them! Build a small boat with things found in the backyard, have them help harvest some vegetables from your garden, or have a contest to see who can create the best sidewalk chalk masterpiece.
Keep an eye on the air quality index and take advantage of the days that are clearer than others. Be ready to do the activities you’ve been wanting to do. Don’t just reserve those days for the chores you’ve been putting off. Allow yourself to have some fun this summer!
Once outdoor activities become intolerable, it’s time to head indoors where the air is less smoky. The Creston and District Community Complex has reservation times in the Pool and Fitness Centre this summer that will surely make it easier for your respiratory system to manage when trying to be more active. There is even a free indoor walking program in the Curling Arena offered on weekdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Register online at www.rdck.ca/recreation or phone 250-428-7127 to book your time slot.
Put in the effort to find ways to make this smoky summer more enjoyable, and you won’t be disappointed. Ask for support and ideas from friends and family to help you with errands that are physically exerting. In return, invite them over for a great meal and some respiratory-friendly activities.