Summer is a time for fun, relaxation, and adventure! However, it's important to remember to take care of your health during such an exciting and often fast-paced season. You don't want to miss out on memories with your children and loved ones because of a sunburn, illness, or other easily avoidable health mishaps.
In this post, we'll explore some practical tips and strategies for maintaining optimal health and happiness throughout the summer months.
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, but it's essential to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. After all, nothing sucks the fun out of a vacation like getting sunburned on the first day.
However, there are more serious long-term effects of excessive sun exposure as well. Sun damage may cause skin to age at a faster rate, leading to the formation of wrinkles and lines¹.
UV damage also contributes to the development of skin cancer, one of the most common types of cancer in the United States². Taking preventative measures while spending time out in the sun can make a huge difference in the long-term health of your skin.
Here are a few tips to protect your skin this summer:
Use sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and apply it generously and frequently, especially for children or those with sensitive skin.
Wear protective clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.
Avoid the sun during peak hours. Try to avoid being in the sun for extended periods during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when the sun's rays are the strongest.
With the hot summer temperatures, it's important to stay hydrated to avoid dehydration.
Hydration is a key part of summer health for the following reasons:
Temperature regulation. Higher temperatures and increased physical activity during summer can cause excessive sweating, leading to fluid loss from the body. Staying hydrated helps regulate your body temperature and prevents overheating, heat exhaustion, or heatstroke.
Energy and performance. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, decreased energy levels, and reduced physical and cognitive performance. Proper hydration helps you maintain your energy levels, improve endurance, and perform better during physical activities or sports.
Skin health. Hydration plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin by keeping the skin moisturized, supple, and less prone to dryness, flakiness, or dullness³. It can also help improve the appearance of the skin, reducing the risk of wrinkles and promoting a more youthful complexion.
Quick tips for maintaining hydration in the summer heat include:
Drinking plenty of water. Drink at least 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated.
Eating hydrating foods. Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes to stay hydrated.
Avoiding dehydrating beverages. Limit your intake of sugary drinks and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
From barbecues and get-togethers to the temptations of refreshing frozen treats, eating healthy isn't always easy during the summer. However, it is an essential part of maintaining your summer health so you can keep up your energy levels and fuel your immune system.
No one wants to lose a week of their summer to a cold or flu. A balanced diet full of nutrients could strengthen your body's natural defense mechanisms and keep you healthy enough to keep making memories all summer long⁴.
If you're struggling to eat healthy this summer, try out these tips:
Choose fresh produce. Eat plenty of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables to get essential vitamins and minerals.
Incorporate lean protein. Choose lean protein sources like chicken, fish, and tofu to help build and repair muscles.
Avoid processed foods. Limit your intake of processed and packaged foods, which can be high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Bring your own snacks. If you know you'll be attending a gathering with lots of unhealthy temptations, bring your own healthier snacks to satisfy your cravings.
Summer is a great time to get outside and be active! Sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D, and summer provides ample opportunity for outdoor activities and exposure to sunlight. Engaging in outdoor physical activities allows your body to synthesize vitamin D, which is essential for bone health and immune function⁵.
Not to mention, regular physical activity can reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and dementia⁶. So, even if you can't make it outside often, try to incorporate moderate exercise where you can this summer.
Here are some fun ideas for staying active this season:
Outdoor activities. Try hiking, biking, swimming, or playing outdoor sports to get moving.
Indoor workouts. Join a gym or try an at-home workout to stay active even on rainy or hot days.
Group fitness classes. Join a yoga or dance class to get moving while also socializing with others.
Remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine to make sure it's safe for you.
Maintaining good mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health in every month of the year, including summertime. For many people, summer can be a stressful season just as much as it is a fun one. With lots of social obligations and events, it can be hard to stay on top of everything.
Summer anxiety and Seasonal Affective Disorder can leave you with feelings of depression, worry, and isolation that make it difficult to participate in activities with your loved ones⁷. These tips may help you prioritize your emotional and mental wellness during the fast-paced summer months:
Meditation and mindfulness. Practice mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress and improve mental clarity.
Stress management. Find healthy ways to manage stress, like talking to friends, going for a walk, or practicing yoga.
Adequate sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to help your body and mind rest.
Staying out of the sun. Studies indicate that high temperatures may raise feelings of anxiety by increasing production of the stress hormone cortisol in the body⁸.
Setting social boundaries. Let your friends and family know if you need some time to recharge or if there are any topics of discussion that could make you uncomfortable.
We hope you can use these tips and strategies to enjoy a healthy and happy summer season. Remember to protect your skin from the sun, stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet, stay active, and take care of your mental health. Here's to a great summer!
(1) National Institutes of Health (July 2014) Sun and Skin
(2) Guy, Gery P, Jr, et al (June 2015) Vital Signs: Melanoma Incidence and Mortality Trends and Projections — United States, 1982–2030
(3) Palma, Lídia (August 2015) Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics
(4) Childs, Caroline E, et al (August 2019) Diet and Immune Function
(5) Aranow, Cynthia (August 2012) Vitamin D and the Immune System
(6) CDC (May 2023) Physical Activity Helps Prevent Chronic Diseases
(7) Wehr, T.A., et al (December 1991) Contrasts between symptoms of summer depression and winter depression
(8) Wehr, T.A., et al (December 1987) Seasonal affective disorder with summer depression and winter hypomania