Staying Healthy This Summer

Five Ways to Focus on Health This Summer

While spring is a time for rebirth, summer represents youth and wellness. As such, it's essential to emphasize health throughout the hottest months of the year to feel as youthful and vibrant as possible. As the weather changes, bringing the heat, it's time to start making a wellness plan. So, where to start?

1. Get Moving!

Physical activity is a great place to start when it comes to getting or staying healthy. Summer temperatures make it easier to get out and get moving. The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. That includes running, walking, cycling or any other activity considered "cardio." Get outside and go for a swim or a bike ride, join a local rec league, or simply enjoy a nice walk!

2. Eat (and Drink) Wisely

It's easy to get dehydrated when spending a lot of time in the sun, and sugary drinks can cause more harm than they’re worth, so drink plenty of water when you're outdoors. When it comes to diet, take advantage of seasonal fruits and veggies and try out a new recipe! Some of those foods include berries, different types of melon, summer squash, corn and more. Like drinks, foods high in sugar can do more harm than good and steal energy when trying to maintain a more active lifestyle.

Food poisoning is also something to always be on the lookout for, not just in the summer but year-round. Bon Secours offers three tips to steer clear of food poisoning:

  • Get rid of any perishable food left out at room temperature for more than a couple of hours
  • Pack perishable food in a cooler filled with ice
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure any grilled meat is at a safe temperature before consuming

3. Keep It Cool

The sun’s rays can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, even when sitting in the shade. Always keep a small sunscreen on your person to protect yourself! The CDC recommends using at least SPF 15 during any given time in the sun. You can also don a wide-brimmed hat or UV clothing to keep your skin safe.

Heatstroke and heat exhaustion also should be at the forefront of your mind if you're outdoors for a long time, either for work or fun. Heat exhaustion includes symptoms like increased pulse, dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea and headache (Bon Secours). Heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which calls for emergency medical attention.

4. Perform Self-Wellness Checks

Doctors recommend several wellness checks you can perform in your own home. Aetna Health goes into detail about performing self-checks, including breast exams, heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, and checking your blood sugar and skin. If any of these checks lead to a visit with your doctor, you will be ready with some of the information they may need to better your care.

5. Focus on Mental Health

Something that often falls through the cracks in terms of wellness is mental health. If sunny days make you feel more tired and uninterested than the cold, you may be dealing with seasonal affective disorder. The University of New Hampshire offers a few tips to keep your mental health in check.

  • Get your endorphins moving through physically moving and getting outside
  • Set goals and motivate yourself
  • Get a change of scenery
  • Focus on mindfulness and meditation
  • Take some time off from work and enjoy your own time!

Creating a healthy environment, taking care of your body and keeping your mind strong can lead to a healthy and happy summer. But most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace. Only you are in charge of respecting your body and giving it what it needs most.

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