We fantasize about it during the winter. We make plans for it all year. It promises a slower, more laid-back change of pace.
Summer is here.
Bringing both the good and the bad. Because let’s face it: some aspects of summer are a nuisance, whether it be mosquito bites, excessive heat, or too much sunlight. Arm yourself with these summer health tips so you can get the most out of the longer, warmer days.
1. Wear sunscreen
Summer and sunscreen (in North America, at least) go hand-in-hand. While it’s important to wear sun protection all year round, it’s especially important during the summer. Even if you’re not spending your days at the beach or the pool, most of us spend more time outside during the summer—which means more sun exposure.
So if it’s not a habit already, make it one: apply sunscreen any time you’re outside for longer than 15 minutes. Even if it’s cloudy. Look for a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply every two hours if you’re outside all day, to get the best protection.
2. Watch out for mosquitos
If the sun is just coming up or starting to set, you won’t need to worry about sunscreen—but you’re not off the hook just yet. Mosquitos love summer too, especially the cooler hours. Your skin is still going to need some protection.
While completely avoiding mosquitos may not be possible, it’s not too difficult to keep them at bay.
Put on insect repellant before heading out the door
Avoid damp, swampy areas
Wear light-weight long sleeves and pants
If you sleep with a window open, make sure there are no holes in the window screen
3. Enjoy in-season fruits and vegetables
In-season produce is truly one of the best things about summer. For starters, there’s more of it, so it’s cheaper. Fruits and vegetables also taste much better when they’re given time to ripen naturally (rather than picked early in order to keep stores stocked). And last but not least, in-season produce has a higher nutritional value because it is consumed closer to harvesting and doesn’t have to be stored for as long.
So don’t miss out on the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables this season, especially those grown in your area. By late summer and early fall, you’ll be feasting like kings on tomatoes, corn on the cob, peaches, and more.
4. Drink extra water
Like wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water should be a year-round habit. However, the consequences of not staying hydrated tend to be more severe during the summer, especially on hot, sunny days.
If you don’t have one already, consider getting a hydro flask so it will keep your water cold all day. There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold drink on a hot day.
5. Stay cool with fun activities
The heat of summer can quickly drain your energy and put you in a bad mood. But you can beat the heat with daytime activities that keep you cool. Here are a few ideas:
Spend a few hours at the pool or the beach—just be sure to wear sunscreen!
Play water games in your backyard or at a local park.
Who says summer activities have to take place outside? Check out a museum, catch a movie at the theater, or play games indoors to enjoy some fun alongside air conditioning.
Go ice skating. This isn’t exactly an activity people associate with summer, but many rinks are open year-round. The cold rink can be surprisingly rejuvenating when the heat has got you down.
If you have to be outside during the day, stay in the shade as much as possible and keep a water bottle close by. Wear a hat and sunscreen, too.
6. Move more, sit less
The lazy, hazy days of summer are ready-made for leisure, so it can be easy to fall into the trap of relaxing too much. There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy for a while, as long as it doesn’t turn you into a couch potato.
It’s good to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in a day, but even better to keep moving throughout the day. Try to get up and walk around every hour or so. Park a little further away from the store entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Any extra movement you can get in during the day will benefit you and help keep you active and energized all summer.
7. Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Summer can feel like one long party, which makes sleep tricky at times. But the party’s no fun if you’re tired, so do what you can to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. The longer days can make it more difficult to fall asleep on time even on a regular day, which makes a healthy sleep routine all the more crucial to helping you get the sleep you need.
Try to go to bed at the same time every night, even if it’s a little later than you’d go to bed any other time of year. The key is to be consistent so your body doesn’t have to deal with as many disruptions.
8. Be careful with fireworks
Watching the sky explode with color is a quintessential summer activity for many families. Keep it that way by following good safety practices:
Wear protective eyewear
Never hold a lit firework, or throw it toward another person
Set off fireworks away from flammable materials, including houses
Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby, and douse all fireworks in water for a few hours after they’re spent
Never allow children to handle fireworks
It’s a good idea to review general fire safety with your families as well, especially if you live in an area prone to wildfires.
Enjoy a healthy, vibrant summer
Summer isn’t without its drawbacks, but with the right preparation it can get pretty close to perfect. Follow these summer health tips to experience the kind of summer you’ll dream about later.