Summer time is upon us and the season brings sunshine, longer days and an increase of outdoor activities. It is important that you remember to not only enjoy the weather and all the beauty of our surroundings this time of year but also ways to take some summer steps that can improve healthy living.
1. Give Your Diet a Berry Boost
If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup of mixed fresh berries -- blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries -- every day. They'll help you load up on antioxidants, which may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses. Blueberries and blackberries are especially antioxidant-rich.
A big bonus: Berries are also tops in fiber, which helps keep cholesterol low.
2. Get Outside to Exercise
Pick one outdoor activity -- going on a hike, taking a nature walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading, or swimming -- to shed that cooped-up feeling of gym workouts. Always remember your limits, listen to your body and when you are tired, take a break and drink some water to remain hydrated.
3. Be Good to Your Eyes
To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes.
And when playing sports or doing tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear protective eyewear.
4. Sleep Well
Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days. Instead pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule and not drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
It's also a good idea to avoid naps during the day unless you take them every day at the same time, for the same amount of time.
5. Protection Against Ticks and Mosquitoes
Be aware of your surroundings. If you are in a wooded area or high grassland be sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and socks.
Treat clothing with permethrin Permethrin-treated clothing will retain repellent activity through multiple washes.
Repellents used on skin can also be applied to clothing but provide shorter duration of protection (same duration as on skin) and must be reapplied after laundering.
Apply lotion, liquid, or spray repellent to exposed skin.
- For Mosquitoes
- Ensure adequate protection during times of day when mosquitoes are most active.
- Dengue, yellow fever, Zika, and chikungunya vector mosquitoes bite mainly from dawn to dusk.
- Malaria, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis vector mosquitoes bite mainly from dusk to dawn.
- Use common sense. Reapply repellents as protection wanes and mosquitoes start to bite.
6. Extreme Heat Caution
- For Ticks
- Check yourself daily (your entire body) and remove attached ticks promptly. If you are unsure you removed the whole tick, seek medial assistance.
- Showering within 2 hours of being in a tick-infested area reduces the risk of some tickborne diseases
- Contact your medical provider of you are showing flu like symtoms or notice a "bulls eye" appearance around the bite site.
Increase your fluid intake -- regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink 2-4 glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour
Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced. The easiest and safest way to replace salt and minerals is through your diet. Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage during exercise or any work in the heat.
Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. In the hot sun, a wide-brimmed hat will provide shade and keep the head cool.
The most efficient way to beat the heat is to stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have an air conditioner or evaporative cooling unit, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library for a few hours
Most importantly, choose your lifestyle that best fits your needs. Think smart and choose wisely. Take time for yourself and family to enjoy what life has to offer.