Summer is a time to have fun and relax, enjoy the long days, bright sun and warm weather. With a little thought, it can also be a great time to think about staying healthier! From staying safe during outdoor activities to eating better during the warm months, here are 10 tips for a healthier summer:
1. Stay a Step Ahead of the Sun
One of summer’s biggest dangers is the sun and its skin-damaging UV rays. Remember to always apply sunscreen whenever you’re going to be outside — and don’t forget to reapply regularly! Eating healthy can also help with sun protection: fruits and veggies like tomatoes and spinach contain chemicals that may increase your natural resistance to sunburn.1
2. Don’t Forget Water
Even if you’ve remembered to layer on the sunscreen, the sun’s hot rays can keep you sweating, depleting your body of precious H20. You can combat this by carrying a water bottle with you, taking regular sips to make sure that your don’t get dehydrated. Fruits and vegetables are often full of water themselves, so eating more of them can keep your water stores topped off.
3. Take Advantage of Outdoor Weather
With winter’s chills a distant memory, it’s easy to head outside during your free time. You can mix fitness and pleasure with active excursions during the nice weather. Plan hikes to scenic areas near your house and try biking short trips instead of taking the car.
4. Switch in Healthier Summer Staples
Many people can scarcely imagine a summer afternoon without a glass of cold tea to sip while they relax in the sun. Traditional sweet tea is chock full of unhealthy sugar, however. Try drinking green tea instead — not only will you save the calories, but you’ll be getting a big helping of antioxidants!2
5. Dress for the Heat
Summer days can get hot fast and people can overheat when they don’t think about their clothes. When you’ll be spending time in very warm weather, dress in lightweight, light-colored clothing. A wide-brimmed hat can be a good addition, shielding your head from the sun.
6. Keep a Sleep Schedule
The summer boasts the longest days of the year, tempting people to stay up later with the light. Be sure to balance your enjoyment of late sunsets with a sensible sleep regimen. Going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day will keep you healthier and happier throughout the summer.3
7. Enjoy Nature’s Bounty
Summer’s a great time to enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables being harvested around you. Search online for local farmers markets and head over regularly to pick up some fresh produce. You’ll be supporting local businesses and eating healthier at the same time!
8. Be Aware of Bugs
Mosquitoes, ticks and other pests can be a major health hazard in the summer months. Whenever you think you’ll be expose to insects, remember to apply appropriately powerful bug spray and reapply regularly. If you think you’ll be heading into the brush or spending time near heavy swarms, dressing in long sleeves and pants will keep your skin away from bugs. Be sure to drink even more water in your warmer getup!
9. Practice Recreational Safety
The summer is full of fun activities like swimming, bike rides and fireworks. Keeping basic safety practices in mind can make these activities even more fun. Make sure you and those with you know the basics of water safety, first aid and how to stay safe during firecracker launches.
10. Grow Your Own Food
With ample sunlight and warm temperatures, summer is a perfect time to plant your own produce. You can go as big or as little as you want, from planting a multi-row garden to keeping a simple herb basket on your patio. You’ll have a personal source of healthy food and an excuse to spend time outside!
1 Dixon, B. (2011, July 22). The best foods for sun protection. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/the-best-foods-for-sun-protection/
2 Davis, J. (2008, September 11). Antioxidants in green and black tea. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-in-green-and-black-tea
3 (n.d.). Adopt good sleep habits. Retrieved May 20, 2015, from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/need-sleep/what-can-you-do/good-sleep-habits