Summer is approaching and that means warm weather, vacations, and kids home from school. Keep your family healthy and safe this summer with these simple tips.
Every cell and tissue in your body needs water to function properly. If we don’t drink enough water, it’s easy to get dehydrated, which can impair energy levels and brain function (1). During exercise or in the heat, water is lost more quickly and the need for water increases.
How much water do you need? There is no straight answer to that. Hydration needs may vary depending on body size, age, climate, exercise, and level of sweat. The 8×8 rule is easy to remember and may be a good place to start (8oz, 8 times a day or 64oz per day), but again, you may need more or less than that.
Drink water throughout the day, especially when you’re thirsty. This summer, remember to take frequent water breaks and consider an electrolyte drink if you’ve been active.
- Use Sunscreen
Protect your skin against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Repeated sun damage puts you at risk for skin cancer and it’s also the cause of premature aging. Be diligent about using sunscreen daily. Wear protective clothing if necessary.
- Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses are not just for fashion but for protecting your eyes from UV rays. The sun’s harmful rays can contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. Look for sunglasses that block UVA and UVB radiation. You can also protect your eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Get Outside
Summer is a great time to get outside for some physical activity and fresh air! It’s good for your body and your emotional health, giving you energy and a clear mind. Some fun summer activities might be hiking, playing sports, or a low-key walk.
- Stay Cool
High climate temperatures can be dangerous in some cases and lead to hyperthermia, where body temperature becomes too high (2). Don’t let yourself get overheated and find a cool place or air-conditioned space to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Please seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, rapid heart rate, or confusion (2).
Get rid of stress this summer! Incorporate some stress relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, or reading something enjoyable. Do what is relaxing to you. Try not to put too many events on your calendar and relax without feeling guilty about it.
- Enjoy Summer Fruits and Vegetables
Boost your nutrients this summer by including some fresh, delicious produce in your diet. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
Some great summer fruits include berries, melons, cherries, peaches, and pineapple. Your summer veggie options could be avocado, cucumber, arugula, or zucchini. Here’s a link to the National Farmers Market Directory, where you can find local seasonal produce in your state: https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets.
- Wilson MM, Morley JE. Impaired cognitive function and mental performance in mild dehydration. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57 Suppl 2:S24-9.
- Wein H, Hicklin T. Stay Cool: Getting Too Hot Can Be Dangerous. NIH News in Health. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2013/07/stay-cool. Accessed May 6, 2019.