Summer is a time for fun, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to make healthy changes in your life and start healthy habits. Here are a few ways to stay healthy throughout the summer.
Eat healthy foods
There’s a great variety of fruits and veggies in season during the summer months, and they’re often readily available. Northwest Arkansas, for example, has several wonderful farmers markets where you can buy fresh produce. Be sure to mix up your fruits and veggies; choose a good assortment.
Cookouts and backyard barbecues are also in season during the summer. Be sure to choose healthy main dishes and healthy side dishes. For example, fill your plate with grilled chicken, salad greens, and fruit instead of hot dogs, potato salad, and ice cream.
Stay active and enjoy outdoor activities
Yes, it’s hot, and it’s tempting to just sit around in the air conditioning. Staying active is absolutely essential to wellness, however. Of course, it’s important that you don’t overdo it. Physical exertion in hot temperatures can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses.
- Plan outdoor activities early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler.
- Avoid vigorous outdoor exercise during peak sunlight hours.
- Find ways to be active indoors. Go to a gym, play indoor sports, visit a rock climbing gym, etc.
- Choose moderate-intensity physical activities. Go for walks, hikes, or go swimming.
Make sure to drink plenty of water each day. Drinking enough water helps prevent dehydration, and also helps you stay healthy. Choose plain water instead of sugary drinks such as soda and juice to get the water you need each day without adding extra calories.
How much water should you drink each day? Water intake needs depend on a number of factors and vary by individual. If you are unsure of how much water you should drink, you can always talk to your primary care physician!
Take care of your skin
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and it affects everyone regardless of skin color. One way to greatly decrease your risk of developing skin cancer is by protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a majority of melanoma cases are attributed to UV exposure.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, and reapply often – especially when swimming.
- Use a lip balm with SPF.
- Wear hats and clothing that offer good protection (UPF and coverage).
- Seek shade, and avoid spending long hours in the sun.
Be safe outdoors
In addition to staying hydrated and practicing good sun safety, you should be mindful of other outdoor hazards. This is especially important if you enjoy hiking, mountain biking, or spending time in nature.
Poison ivy, ticks, mosquitoes, and snakes are bountiful during the summer months. Know how to identify and avoid these things, and make sure that you take proper safety precautions. Call your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms after exposure to these things, and call 911 for medical emergencies.
Stick to a sleep schedule
There are more hours of daylight during the summer, and you may find yourself staying up later than you do during the rest of the year. It’s important to stick with a consistent sleep schedule – especially for children.
Here are a few tips to sleep better at night.
Schedule a wellness exam
Some people make the mistake of only visiting the doctor when they are sick. Maintaining a good level of communication with your primary care physician, and scheduling annual wellness exams, can help you stay as healthy as possible and promote wellness.
MANA has some of the very best doctors in Northwest Arkansas. Talk to a MANA physician today!