The sun is out, the barbeque is ready to go, and you’ve dusted off your favorite pair of cut-offs in preparation. While the living may be easier during the warm summer months, you should take care to preserve your health during this laid-back time of the year. Summer can bring with it many temptations to behave badly, including overindulging in ice-cream, sunbathing, or brewskis, so it’s important to strike a balance in order to stay healthy this season.
- Wear sunscreen, and monitor your sun intake
A half an hour or so is all you need to maximize your exposure to vitamin D. While spending more time in the sun than this is not harmful, it can be if you don’t take precautions to prevent sunburn and heat exhaustion. Wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and don’t sit in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm – the hottest period of the day. If you’re planning on being outside for a while, reapply sunscreen every two hours – or more often if you’re sweating profusely or in the water.
- Drink lots of water
Dehydration is one of summer’s greatest risks. Often, by the time you realize that you are thirsty, your body has already reached a point of extreme dehydration. Drink at least eight or nine glasses of water a day – more if you are out in the sun or exercising vigorously. Keep in mind that many water-dense foods, like fruits and vegetables, are another great way to up your hydration levels. To make sure you’re drinking enough water, monitor your urine – it should be pale yellow to clear in color.
Summer, with its long, warm days, is a great time to begin taking your workout outdoors. Not a fan of the rising mercury? Just because the temperatures are rising, that doesn’t mean you need to eschew exercise altogether. Exercise in the early morning or late evening, when it’s cooler, or head inside for a workout. Most gyms are air-conditioned, and many have pools – another great way to fit in a workout during these hot months. Thirty minutes of moderately paced swimming can burn hundreds of calories and is a great way to stay cool.
- Grow a garden
Planting a garden is a great way to get some exercise this summer, as well as to increase your vitamin D exposure and also gain free access to tons of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies. Studies have also shown that putting your hands in the soil, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can drastically reduce your stress levels and leave you feeling calmer and significantly more grounded (no pun intended!).
- Protect your peepers
Make sure you keep your eyes protected from harsh ultraviolet rays while outside. Sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles around the eyes, as well as the development of cataracts later in life. Wear protective glasses when mowing the lawn, playing sports, or engaging in other high-risk activities to help prevent common summer eye injuries as well.
- Limit your alcohol consumption
Summer is a great time to kick back with a cold beer or an icy glass of sangria, but don’t overdo it. Alcohol dehydrates your body and can make you feel groggy – both bad news on a hot summer day. Try to keep your alcohol intake to one or two drinks a day – studies have suggested that drinking moderately at this level can help reduce your chances of heart disease.
- Catch some zzzs
Try not to stay up longer during the longer summer days. By maintaining the same bedtime and wake-up schedule throughout the year, you’ll have more balanced energy levels and will be less likely to hit the 3 pm “wall.” aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and try not to drink alcohol within three hours of bed time, as this can affect your overall sleep quality.
- Load up on summer produce
Summer is a great time to enjoy the bountiful harvest around you. Consider preparing ingredients all at once and stashing them in your freezer for ready-made smoothies, or enjoy a large green salad every day for lunch. Fresh produce is high in water and will keep you feeling satiated, hydrated, and healthy. For an extra boost of nutrients and antioxidants, increase your intake of colorful vegetables (think purple cabbage, berries, and beets).
- Take breaks
Summer is the ideal time to kick back and relaxed. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a large summer bucket list. Instead, plan mini-vacations and weekly escapes so that you can get away regularly – even if you still have to work. Take regular pauses throughout the day to appreciate the sunshine and pleasant weather.
- Don’t forget the vitamins and electrolytes
While water is usually enough by itself to keep you hydrated, it can be tough to maintain other nutrient levels during the summer, when you tend to sweat out much of the water you drink. Hydration is an important part of overall health, not just because of the water it provides your body, but also the crucial vitamins and minerals.
In the summer, consider adding a supplemental beverage to your water. Dr. Willard’s Water® is one such additive. It naturally improves your body’s overall functioning and increases its ability to absorb vitamins like magnesium and vitamin C. It can be a great alternative to sugary beverages like Gatorade or Powerade, and will make you feel like a million bucks.
This summer, don’t put off your health resolutions until next year. Summer is a great time to become a healthier, happier you, so make sure you implement these tips to make the most out of this most beautiful time of the year.