Warm weather, long days, plenty of sunshine…summer is the perfect time to focus on your overall fitness, health and well-being.
To get you started, here are some healthy tips to consider as you plan your summertime activities:
- Start with a Berry Boost
If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup of mixed fresh berries -- blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries – every day. They'll help you load up on antioxidants, which may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses. Blueberries and blackberries are especially antioxidant-rich. Berries are also high in fiber, which helps keep cholesterol low and may even help prevent some cancers
- Get Outside to Exercise
Pick one outdoor activity -- going on a hike, taking a nature walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading, or swimming -- to shed that cooped-up feeling. And remember, the family that plays together not only gets fit together -- it's also a great way to create bonding time. Not to mention the health value of absorbing natural vitamin D and enjoying some fresh air.
- Stay Hydrated
As the summer temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is more important than ever, whether you are out for a run, playing with your kids or just sitting in the sun. Your body needs fluids and electrolytes to function at its best. For most people, water is the best medicine! Enjoying a morning cup of Joe or the occasional soft drink is ok, but for maintaining a healthy hydration level, nothing works better than drinking water. Remember, if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
- Take Care of Your Skin
Wear sunscreen. From avoiding wrinkles and sun spots to reducing the risk of sunburn and skin cancer, wearing sunscreen is a must. Look for at least an SPF 30 to protect yourself from ultraviolet exposure, and wear it all the time! Remember, using an effective sunscreen isn’t just for sitting by the pool or playing on the beach, it’s for any outdoor activity from running errands to taking a short walk.
- Be Good to Your Eyes
To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes.
- Vacation Time!
Improve your heart health, take advantage of summer's slower schedule by using your vacation time to unwind. Whether you are able to get away for a few days or enjoying a staycation, breaks from work have multiple benefits. They can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol, which contributes to a widening waist and increased health risks. Also, taking a few days away from your normal schedule allows you to catch up on rest, calm your mind and reenergize your spirit.
- Get Dirty and Stress Less
What better time than to get back to nature. To improve your stress level, plant a small garden, cultivate a flower box, or if space is really limited, plant a few flower pots -- indoors or out. Just putting your hands in soil is "grounding" for many people. And when life feels like you're moving so fast your feet are barely touching the stuff, being mentally grounded can help relieve physical and mental stress.
- Stay Summer Smart
Summer is a time to relax and enjoy life, but that doesn’t mean relaxing your diligence around staying safe. Wash your hands often and effectively, maintain social distancing, wear masks when out in public and avoid large groups. None of these things prevent you from enjoying the summer season; all of these things help to keep you safe.
Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate summer. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Take advantage of it. Dedicate this summer to you, your family, and your collective well-being. Stay well.