7 Ways to Stay Healthy This Summer
Many of us look forward to summertime with unbridled enthusiasm. It’s our reward for surviving the long, cold winter! While sunshine and warm temperatures allow us to enjoy plenty of outdoor activities, the season can be hazardous to our health if we aren’t careful. The following tips will help ensure you stay healthy this summer.
All that warm sunshine is great when you’re planning on going for a hike or taking a dip in a lake, but it’s not so great for your skin. Sun exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer and also leads to premature aging. Be sure to wear sunscreen whenever you venture out, even when it’s cloudy; ultraviolet rays can still cause harm on overcast days. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum 30 SPF rating and reapply frequently—especially when swimming.
Outdoor activities can quickly lead to dehydration—especially during the summer months, when warm temperatures cause you to perspire more. Aim for a minimum of 64 ounces (about eight glasses) of water a day, increasing your intake if you are exercising strenuously. Here’s a good rule of thumb: for every hour you spend in the sun, drink a glass of water. This will help keep you hydrated and replenish your energy.
A summer picnic is one of the true joys of summer, but if you aren’t careful, that egg salad sandwich can have long-lasting repercussions. When planning an outdoor cookout, be sure to pack raw meat and poultry in ice and keep them in separate coolers from other foods. Any items that have been left out for two hours (one hour when the temperature tops 90º) should be thrown away; consuming perishable food that’s been exposed to heat could lead to illness.
Go easy on the alcohol.
A cold beer tastes great on a hot day, but alcohol should be enjoyed in moderation when the weather is warm. Drinking too much can lead to dehydration. Alternate alcoholic beverages with water; this will keep you hydrated and flush harmful toxins from your body.
Make healthy food choices.
Firing up the grill and loading it with burgers, hot dogs, and steaks is a rite of passage during the summer months—but too much meat can wreak havoc with your long-term health. Add a little variety to your backyard BBQ by incorporating fresh vegetables (grilled corn on the cob is easy and delicious!), tossed salads, and fruits. Still craving protein? Opt for something leaner, like chicken or fish.
Exercise in the morning.
It’s important to keep up with your regular exercise routine all year long, but in the summer, delaying your workout until the afternoon means you’ll be exercising when the sun is at its peak, increasing your risk of sunstroke or dehydration. Heading out early—whether you’re walking, running, or heading to Koko FitClub—will get your endorphins flowing and give your metabolism a boost.
Tread water carefully.
Scorching afternoons can have you running for the nearest body of water. There’s nothing more soothing than a cool dip on a hot day; just be sure to take precautions so you don’t become a drowning statistic. Never swim alone; avoid diving headfirst into water when you don’t know the depth; steer clear of fast-flowing streams; and avoid swimming in extremely cold water—the sudden temperature change can send your body into shock and leave you incapacitated.