With longer days, warm weather, and more sunshine, it’s important to take special care of yourself during the summer months to stay healthy and comfortable. The following are some of our favorite summer health tips that are effective ways to stay well and beat the heat.
Proper hydration is first on our list because it is so essential, especially with higher temperatures during the summer months. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and go easy on caffeine and alcohol and avoid sugary drinks like soda, as they can lead to dehydration. Severe dehydration can lead to life-threatening complications so it’s important to be mindful of your water intake all year round, but especially in the summer.
Protect Your Skin
To prevent skin cancer and sun damage, It’s important to protect yourself every day from UV rays emitted from the sun. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer accounts for 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, there were more than 96,000 new cases of melanoma in the United States in 2019.
Try to limit your sun exposure, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, when the UV rays are strongest. Stay in the shade, cover your skin with a hat and breathable, light-colored long sleeves, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours or after sweating or swimming. Protect your eyes with sunglasses or visors.
Exercise During Coolest Parts of the Day
Avoid exercising outside midday to prevent heat exhaustion. Unless you are exercising in an air-conditioned gym, it’s best to work out in the early morning and evening on hot days.
According to healthline.com, risk factors for heat exhaustion include:
- having a physical job that requires strenuous activities or wearing heavy, protective clothing in hot environments
- participating in strenuous sports outside in the heat, like long-distance running
- being aged 65 years or older
- being obese
- having a bad sunburn
- taking certain medications, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, and antihistamines
Value Your Sleep
With sunny days and warm nights, it’s tempting to stay up and late and wake up early. While making the most of your days isn’t a bad thing, avoid neglecting your sleep. Regular, quality sleep is fundamental to good physical and cognitive health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you have trouble getting enough sleep in the morning, use blinds or a sleep mask to keep out early morning sunshine in the summer.
Get Fresh Air
If you have air conditioning in your home, it’s a good idea to spend at least some of your time in fresh air. Try opening windows and using fans at night or spend time outdoors during the early morning and evening when it’s too hot to go out during the day. Ventilating your home is important because it helps clear the air of allergens and toxins from cooking and cleaning products.
Eat Seasonal Produce
Eating what’s in season means being able to get high-quality, fresh, organic, and often local produce. Some nutrient-rich summer fruits and vegetables include apricots, avocados, bananas, beets, bell peppers, blueberries, cherries, cucumber, green beans, honeydew melon, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, watermelon, and zucchini.