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9 Tips for a Healthy Summer


The long, warm days just seem to invite kicking back and having fun. The last thing you want is for health problems to spoil your plans. These tips will help you stay healthy so you can make the most of the sunshine season.

 

  1. Go outside and play. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Plus, it may help restore the ability to pay attention when you’re feeling mentally drained.

  2. Hike, bike, swim. Or grab your running shoes, a tennis racket, or even a push lawn mower. There are lots of ways to get your 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. If it’s too hot outside, hit the gym, walk at the mall, or visit an indoor basketball court.

  3. Slather on sunscreen. Protect your skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Apply liberally, even on cloudy or cooler days. And don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking shades.

  4. Stay cool in the heat. To avoid getting overheated, wear light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. Stay inside during the hottest part of the day—usually about noon to 3 p.m.

  5. Guzzle more water. Your body needs extra fluids in hot weather, especially if you’re exercising or working in the heat. Water is a great choice; for flavor, add slices of orange, melon, or strawberry. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or lots of sugar, which actually can be dehydrating.

  6. Fire up the grill. Throw on some fish, chicken, turkey burgers, or veggie kabobs. But be aware: Meat, poultry, or fish grilled by some methods can form chemicals that may increase the risk for cancer. To reduce the risk, avoid cooking directly over an open flame or on a hot metal grill. Instead, cover the grill with foil that has holes poked in it. Remove any charred bits before eating.

  7. Visit a farmers market. Or grow your own food garden and get some bonus physical activity. Summer is prime time for a host of delicious, nutritious fruits and veggies, including blueberries, green beans, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, and zucchini.

  8. Pack a safe picnic. There’s nothing better than a good meal enjoyed in the great outdoors. Just keep in mind that foodborne bacteria thrive at warm temperatures. To fend off food poisoning, store cold food in a cooler at 40 degrees or lower. Open the lid as little as possible to keep things cold inside.

  9. Shoo away the bugs. At best, bug bites are irritating. At worst, ticks and mosquitoes can carry diseases. To reduce the risk, apply insect repellent to exposed skin and clothing, following product directions. Wash it off when you come inside, and check your skin, clothing, and gear for hitchhiking ticks.

 

Finally, take an extended break from work stress if you can, whether for a weeklong trip or weekend staycation. Soak up all the good things that summer has to offer and treat yourself to a healthy dose of hammock therapy.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.