Summer is the season for road trips, tubing down the Salt River, attending summer music festivals, hosting epic water balloon battles, and other fun adventures.
Embracing the action-packed nature of summer, however, isn’t as important as ensuring your health doesn’t take a back seat.
Nurture your health with our summer health survival guide.
Setting aside some time to unwind has many health benefits: lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and relieving symptoms of anxiety are just three. Some relaxation techniques to consider include deep breathing, meditation, and aromatherapy. You can also spend time in nature, unplug from technology, take a stay-cation, leisurely ride a bike, see a movie, or visit a salon.
While sunlight is a good source of vitamin D, this essential vitamin can also be found in foods and dietary supplements, so there’s no need to expose unprotected skin to harmful UV rays. Protect your skin and health by using sunscreen. You may also want to wear a baseball or bucket hat to protect your face.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum, which protects against UVA and UVB rays, sunscreen product daily. Look for SPF between 30 and 50. Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before stepping outside and reapplied every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
Omega-3 fatty acids (omega-3s) are important year-round to support cardiovascular, cognitive and joint function, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Fatty fish, flax seed, and some nuts are rich in omega-3. However, if you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet, consider adding a dietary supplement to meet average daily recommended amounts (ALA).
Your body needs water for optimal function. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you would need 70 ounces of fluid per day. Increase intake if you exercise or work outside. Don’t enjoy plain water? Infuse it with lemon slices, fresh berries, and/or mint leaves. Electrolyte-replacement drinks are another option to consider.