With school officially out, your family might be out more often during the summer vacation. You may find yourself enjoying a hike on various trails, relaxing on the beach, or participating in numerous outdoor sports. Whatever your choice of activity is, there is one common factor. That is . . . the sun. And with the sun comes the heat! Let’s make sure you and your loved ones stay safe with these Hot Summer Health Tips.
Tip #1: Hydrate
Outdoor activities are much more enjoyable when the weather is beautiful. Whether you are exercising, competing in your favorite sport, or playing games with the kids, it is important that you stay hydrated. For the most part, that simply means drinking more water more often.
MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that people choose water over sugary drinks as sugar-sweetened beverages provide excess calories with little nutrient value.
But what about sports drinks and electrolytes? Glad you asked. Sports drinks do help replenish electrolytes that are lost through sweat; however, they should only be used during and after strenuous exercise that lasts longer than one hour.
For planned activities, start drinking water about 24 hours earlier and at regular intervals. During your activity, consume fluids at a rate sufficient to replace all the water lost through sweating or consume the maximal amount that can be tolerated.
Tip #2: Protect Your Skin
Enjoying the hot summer sun can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Being under the sunlight is a great way to up your Vitamin D levels. However, too much sun exposure may increase the risk of skin cancer.
Many guidelines and institutes recommend that people only need 10-15 minutes of sun exposure to enable to body to produce enough Vitamin D for the day. After that, we should start focusing on protecting the skin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing sunscreen as directed, using protecting clothing like sunglasses or hats, or staying indoors between 10 am to 4 pm when UV rays are most dangerous.
Simply put, seek balance by getting enough Vitamin D then taking the needed steps to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Tip #3: Enjoy Cool Snacks
Fresh fruits and vegetables can help you keep cool during those hot days by providing refreshing flavors or natural smoothies or juices. Let’s not forget that they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep you healthy and energized to enjoy all your favorite summer activities.
Try this simple smoothie recipe before you head out for your next adventure:
- 1 cup assorted berries, fresh or frozen
- 1 banana
- 2 cups skim milk
- Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Tip: If some of the berries are frozen, this smoothie will be thicker and more like a milkshake.
Enjoy your summer and be healthy!
Ernest Aquino is an AFPA Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Personal Trainer, and is TakeCare’s Wellness Team Lead. He can be contacted at [email protected].