As the temperature rises, you probably make plans for trips to the beach, family vacations, cookouts, and other fun in the sun. As you’re making plans for your summer recreation, begin to plan for maintaining your summer health as well. These tips for a healthier summer will keep you ready to play all summer long.
With flu season behind you and so much fun to be had, it’s easy to slip up and forget about taking care of yourself. You’ll be attending cookouts where the hosts are serving alcohol; eating takeout food from the drive-thru window on long road trips; spending time outdoors in the heat of summer. These present very different health challenges than you find during those winter months. Nevertheless, they are important to consider.
Carry a water bottle
Maintaining proper hydration is key when you’re spending time outdoors in the summer. The human body cools itself the process of perspiration. When you’re perspiring, you’re losing valuable body fluid in the form of water. Because the cells of the human body are made up of over 60% water, you can quickly start to feel the effects of dehydration if you don’t sip water throughout the day.
Carry a water bottle with you and sip throughout the day. If you’re taking a road trip, pack a few extras in a small cooler. If you have long delays due to roadwork or traffic, you’ll have water handy.
While we on the topic of hydration, treat yourself to some fruit-infused water. It offers you a break from plain jane water with the added benefit of a burst of vitamins and minerals. It’s much healthier than those convenience store sports drinks or commercially-made flavored waters.
Fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and strawberries give you a dose of Vitamin C. The energy burst to keep playing outside all day long!
Eat local, fresh produce
Locally-produced fresh produce is one of the best ways to treat yourself in the summer. If you’re attending a family cookout, offer to take a salad made from fresh greens, local lettuce, and whatever other fresh vegetables are available in your area.
In addition, try grilling some fresh vegetables. Grilling retains more of the nutrients in the vegetables than boiling them and complements the flavors of those grilled meats. This gives you the chance to “lighten up” the menu and add health benefits. You will be better able to maintain a healthy weight by filling over half your plate with vegetables at every meal.
The sun peaks from 10 am to 4 pm. Therefore, you should limit your time in the direct sunlight during those hottest hours. Sunburns are no laughing matter. Not only do they hurt, they cause dehydration and cause very real burns that can permanently damage your skin. In addition, they are a leading cause of skin cancer!
Try to plan activities in the shade when possible. Apply SPF 30 sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you head outside. Remember to reapply that sunscreen after you’ve sweated away the sunscreen or played watersports. This will ensure that your skin remains well-protected from the damaging UV rays.
Because you’re able to get outside so frequently, summer is the perfect time to get some exercise. Going to the same gym every day can get boring. In fact, boredom is one reason why people fall out of their gym routines! Change it up in the summertime. The sunny weather means that you can do activities that you wouldn’t normally be able to do in the winter. These include riding your bike; taking a challenging hike; organizing a neighborhood softball game; running a 5k to raise cash for your favorite charity; or playing a game of tennis.
The combination of easy access to lots of fresh vegetables and increasing your activity through fun exercise will help you lose those last leftover pounds you gained last winter!
Early morning walks
Early morning walks are an essential part of summer fitness. The early hours get you outdoors and active well before the mid-day when you’ll feel the peak temperatures and UV exposure.
We all know that walking is great for exercise. But did you know that it’s also a way to get you motivated for your day? A morning walk clears your head and allows you to think through all your upcoming tasks and goals for the day. This leaves you feeling positive, refreshed, and ready to tackle anything.
Enjoy your family
Because the kids are out of school, summer is the best time to enjoy your family. Plan family-friendly day trips to the zoo or amusement parks to make memories that all family members will cherish forever. Take the kids to the park or playground. Visit a local beach or pool. Volunteer at a local charitable organization together. Trying new things will teach your kids to be adventurous and confident. These types of family activities are essential for your mental well-being and builds stronger family bonds.
Kick your nicotine habit
If you are a smoker, summer is a fantastic time to kick the nicotine habit. When you’re inside in the winter, you are in a very familiar routine of work, come home, eat, watch tv. These routines probably include smoking at certain times, like right after a meal.
In the summer, you have longer hours of daylight. This is both a mood booster (which you need when you’re quitting) and the chance to shake up that same old routine! Take up an evening hobby like gardening or an after-dinner walk to take your mind off those cigarettes. Breaking that smoking routine is part of ending the addiction. You’ll be uncomfortable for the first few weeks. But you’ll quickly be on the road to better breathing and improved wellness.
Summer is the best time of the year to make healthy changes that increase the quality of your life. Start small. Choose to work in just one or two of these 8 tips for a healthier summer to start off. I bet you’ll love your new, healthier you!