Here Comes The Sun: Healthy Hacks For a Safe Summer
The chillier times of the year get a lot of attention when it comes to concerns about coughs, colds, sneezes and sniffles. But while the balmy summer months bring relief from some ailments, they also come equipped with their own set of health-related challenges. Fortunately, with just a few mindful tweaks to your normal routine, it’s simple to set yourself and your loved ones up for a safe and enjoyable sunny season.
For many of us, summertime is all about soaking up the sun. But shade is also your ally when it comes to wellbeing. Try to limit time in the direct sunshine between 10am and 4pm, when UV ray intensity is at its peak. If you do go out, apply plenty of sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher). And don’t forget sunglasses. According to The Vision Council’s latest survey, 27% of Americans don’t wear them outdoors, resulting in symptoms ranging from eye irritation and swelling to sunburned eyelids and vision trouble.
Excursions = Exercise
The warm summer weather means more time outdoors. And regular exercise is a key component in improving heart health, reducing pain and lowering stress levels. No time for the gym? No problem. Turn simple outings like going to the zoo or visiting a park into a workout by using the stairs, taking the long route or adding in some stretching and strengthening moves along the way.
This time of year, the local farmers’ markets and grocery stores are bursting with an array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Produce purchased in season tastes better and can provide higher nutritional value when consumed as close to time of harvest as possible. Whether you prefer them cooked, raw or blended into a breakfast smoothie, eating more of your favorite fruits and veggies can help you reap some healthful rewards.
While summer is often synonymous with vacation season, it can still be difficult to give yourself permission to take a breather from work. A recent study by Project Time Off states that 54% of American workers don’t use the vacation days they’ve earned. But even if you love your job, taking time away will help you to de-stress and return to your profession with renewed vigor and productivity. Whether you choose a long weekend trip to your favorite getaway or opt for a simple staycation to enjoy mornings with a cup of coffee and a good book, be sure to make the time to relax and rejuvenate.
Drinking more water is always a good idea, but hydration is even more critical when the temps are climbing. If you find yourself reaching for soda because you’re bored of plain old H2O, try infusing it with flavors like lemon, orange or mint. Just add a few slices or sprigs to a pitcher of water and let it sit in your fridge for 4-6 hours or more. And eating foods with high water content like watermelon and cucumbers is another great way to keep dehydration at bay.
Mosquito-related conditions like the West Nile and Zika viruses are serious business. But there are a number of ways to lessen your risk, ranging from commercial insect repellents to more natural methods such as keeping exposed skin covered and avoiding the outdoors during dawn and dusk hours. You can also make a spray with equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar and spritz on to deter insects.
Put a few of these simple tips into action and enjoy a happy and healthy summer!