Everybody loves summer, right?
Even this year, with so much of our routines disrupted, the sunshine and warm weather can lift our spirits and get us engaging in healthy living. Jogging, gardening, hiking, outdoor swimming… the options are endless with the longer days.
Summer is also a good time to remind ourselves about some healthy lifestyle choices. So, let’s review how to make the most of the season.
That’s right – warmer weather means we need to be even more vigilant about drinking plenty of water. Among the many benefits: It keeps us cooler.
Getting the right amount of water each day also helps increase our metabolism, which helps us lose weight and keep it off. Plus, drinking a glass before a meal helps us feel full faster, so we’re less likely to overeat.
Water is also good for digestion, healthy skin – and just about everything related to a healthy body.
Add cucumber slices or fruit to a pitcher to give a refreshing, light flavor.
Drink water even when you’re not thirsty. A good rule of thumb is to drink between a half-ounce and 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight, according to WebMD.
Enjoy your outdoor activities before the highest heat of the day. If you like to garden, for instance, get your digging done around breakfast time rather than in the afternoon. An evening walk or jog can be much more pleasurable than taking one in the hot middle of the day.
Too much exposure ages the skin and can lead to skin cancers. Consumer Reports says 61 percent of people over 60 don’t use sunscreen. And skin cancers are up among Baby Boomers.
So, get something with an SPF between 30 and 50. Look for UVA and UVB protection. Reapply frequently, and don’t be stingy. If you’re concerned about allergies or toxicity, review labels carefully and discuss with your doctor.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sunscreen and hats – along with staying in the shade, wearing clothing to the ankles, and wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
For a natural, do-it-yourself sunburn treatment, consider essential oils: peppermint, chamomile, tea tree and lavender; or oatmeal baths. Men’s Health recommends a spray made from 1 ounce pure aloe, 1 ounce coconut oil, 2 ounces of witch hazel, 5 drops of peppermint oil and 5 drops of lavender oil.
Win the Mosquito Wars.
Be sure to empty flower pots, buckets, and other water containers to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Use outdoor repellents around the yard. Use yellow-hued outdoor lightbulbs, since they attract fewer pests.
To keep the bugs off your body, the CDC recommends mosquito repellent with 5 percent to 50 percent DEET as the best insect repellent. VeryWellFit.com recommends Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent Avon Skin So Soft, Repel Tick Defense and other easily found items.
Remember to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid drinking too much alcohol, and get plenty of rest.
And we can provide plenty of suggestions for safe, healthy exercise – with us or on your own – so, don’t hesitate to ask us for suggestions.
Here’s to a safe and happy season!
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.