The long, sunlit days of summer give you a chance to kick back, soak up the sunshine, and enjoy activities you may not have time for during the rest of the year. Summertime is the season when we find it irresistible to set aside busy schedules and indulge in some much-needed laid-back fun and relaxation, whether we do this at home or set out for a memorable adventure.
With all of the opportunities for enjoyment, summer also comes with its own share of hazards. Let's dive into these tips for staying healthy and refreshed so you can make the most of your summer.
What to eat in summer
Summertime brings an abundance of fresh fruits and antioxidant-rich vegetables to farmer's markets. Try all of these when they're in season:
- Corn on the cob
- Vine-ripened tomatoes
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens
There's nothing quite like a nice, cool ice pop or ice cream treat to cool you down on scorching hot days. If you want to avoid eating excess sugar, try smoothie pops. To make these healthy popsicles, buy some ice pop molds and fill them with your favorite smoothie. You can also layer your homemade popsicles with fruit and yogurt to make them more filling.
Whenever possible, stay on your regular eating schedule, including breakfast.
Food safety when outdoor cooking and picnicking
More people take advantage of outdoor cooking in the summer, and it's important to keep food safety in mind. Follow these tips to keep your delicious outdoor foods safe:
- Don't leave perishable food in the heat or sun for more than two hours.
- Keep your food packed with ice packs in an insulated cooker.
- Use separate cutting boards for vegetables, raw meats, and cooked meats.
- Use clean knives between uses.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure you're cooking meat to the correct temperature.
One of the most important summer wellness tips is to stay safe in the sun. One of the most common forms of cancer is skin cancer. Wearing protective clothing helps, but we all need sunscreen, too. Don't forget your ears, lips, scalp, hands, and eyelids.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends daily, year-round use of a water-resistant SPF 30 sunscreen providing broad-spectrum coverage. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go out into the sun, and reapply it every two hours. One ounce of sunscreen will adequately cover most bodies. Helpful tip: one ounce of sunscreen is about the amount that fills a shot glass.
It's not just people who thrive in the summer. Ticks, fleas, and mosquitos are also prolific, and these insects can pass on illnesses that can cause temporary or long-term health issues.
To keep these bugs at bay, experts recommend using products that contain DEET for your skin and permethrin for your clothing. Both of these chemicals will keep bugs away from you and your family members.
If you don't want to use DEET, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests looking for a product that contains lemon eucalyptus oil. Note that the CDC doesn't recommend using pure lemon eucalyptus oil. Rather, find an insect repellent that has the oil mixed in. Also, don't use these products on children under the age of 3.
The first step to keeping cool in the summer is to stay hydrated. If you don't love drinking plain water or just want a little variety, you can add flavor to your H20. Try adding watermelon or berries to your drinking water for a delightful flavor boost.
Mint and cucumber are also flavorful options. A splash of lemon or lime juice is another healthy add-in (you get the added benefit of some extra vitamin C!). Food like tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumbers also provide excellent hydration.
Summer is full of lazy days but staying active is important. To keep moving when the afternoons are hot, take advantage of cooler daytime hours, such as mornings and evenings.
Whether you run, bike, walk, play soccer, or swim, the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise and 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week for healthy individuals. Fun summer exercises include outdoor yoga classes in the morning and water aerobics.
How to stay cool in the heat
Staying hydrated is the key to keeping cool in the summer. Here are some more tips for making sure you don't get overheated:
- Spa towels: Use chilled towels to cool off quickly. Soak clean washcloths in cold water, adding a few drops of essential oil if you like. Wring the washcloths and roll them up. Keep them in a plastic bag or container in your refrigerator.
- Mornings and evenings: Try to do outdoor activities such as exercising, shopping, and gardening in the morning or evening.
- Lightweight clothing: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing so that when you sweat, it evaporates and keeps you cooler.
- Hats: When possible, don a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head cool and give you some shade.
- Seek shade: Between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., limit your direct sun exposure.
Summer wellness tips
In addition to all of the important tips we shared above, keep these in mind to stay healthy in the summer.
Get plenty of rest
Insufficient sleep is associated with higher blood sugar levels, increased hunger, impaired problem-solving, and poor concentration. Be sure to stop having fun for long enough to get plenty of high-quality sleep.
It's easy to let our healthy habits slide when traveling. Finding nutritious food options is more challenging on the road and long stretches of time on a plane or in a vehicle sap our energy.
If traveling by train or bus, make time for a brisk walk before you hop aboard. Also, if time allows, skip moving sidewalks and walk instead so you can still get your steps in. Take advantage of exercise equipment at your hotel's gym or take a walk around the neighborhood when visiting relatives.
Wear shoes that support your feet
Sandals and flip-flops are the go-to footwear for many people in the summer. However, some of these styles are flimsy and may not provide enough support for long periods of time. Try to find styles that support your feet, or opt for sneakers when you're not at the beach or pool.
Enjoy alcohol in moderation
Who doesn't love a tasty frozen drink or cool cocktail in the summertime? Make it a goal to enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation, both for your health and safety and for the safety of others.
Stay healthy in summer
Summer is a time of fun, joy, and making memories. Staying healthy is the key to ensuring that your summer memories are good ones.
Evidation Members can track points for activities that include getting plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, food intake, exercise, and more. Download our app to get started today.