Summer means more time outdoors, BBQs, pool parties and the occasional getaway. And as easy as it might be, we really shouldn't ignore our health this time of year, though, as warm weather means extra exposure to the sun’s UV rays and hotter temps that can make us feel bloated and dehydrated. The good news? There are plenty of ways to balance fun with feeling our best from now all the way through Labor Day. Here are 6 easy tips to keep your health in check, allowing for a successful summer:
1. Apply Sunscreen Daily
The important of applying sunscreen cannot be stressed enough. Sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer, as well as the risk of severe sun burns, and ,if not careful, this can lead to extreme dehydration and a trip to the hospital. Sunscreen also been proven to help slow down your skin's aging process. As a general rule, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF. One ounce is considered enough to cover the body.
2. Embrace "Healthier"
Families and friends love a good BBQ during the summer. But instead of the traditional staples, try to broaden the palette a little. For example, rather than regular burgers and brats drenched in BBQ sauce, embrace fresher flavors like grilled chicken or fish and grilled fruits and veggies as a fresh side dish. These portions of tasty protein are much healthier than hamburgers or hot dogs, and they leave you feeling full longer. For tasty yet healthy recipes, check out www.eatingwell.com...you'll be surprised at all the possibilities!
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Water should always the beverage of choice throughout the entire year, but it is especially important during the summer when dehydration is at greater risk. Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily and more if exercising or outdoors for more than a few hours. A good guide to follow is: for every hour in the sun, drink at least 1 to 2 glasses of water. This prevents dehydration and replenishes energy levels while soaking in the rays.
4. Travel Light
Making sure the essentials are packed is common before a flight, but so is overpacking. While most people do not link luggage to injury, it is also quite common. Packing light can prevent injuries such as strains, pulls, and tears. If packing more for an extended trip, use proper techniques for heavy lifting. Bend at the knees, and use your leg muscles, and avoid twisting or rotating your spine.
5. Eat Breakfast
Breakfast may take the backseat with all the fun awaiting outside, but without proper nutrition first thing in the morning, the body can wilt in the summer sun and potentially lead to heat overexposure, dehydration, or fainting. Eating a healthy breakfast can deter these risks, balance blood sugars, and heighten energy levels to kickstart the day. A morning meal should be balanced with protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Here are some great protein packed breakfast ideas to start off your morning right!
6. Get Moving
Added heat (even if it’s dry heat!) can often make exercise uncomfortable in the summer months. Try getting some exercise in the morning hours before the sun is at its peak, or break up your day and go for shorter walks throughout your day. Many doctors suggest at least 30 minutes a day, but most importantly, just do something that gets your heart rate up. Plus, fresh vitamin D is good for you...just don’t forget to wear good shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen!
Staying healthy is key to enjoying all that summer has to offer. Keep it simple and stay prepared, and you'll be well on your way to a successful, stress-free summer!