A family is getting ready to have dinner outside during the summer.

Tips for a Healthy Summer

This summer, make it a point to incorporate healthy habits into your summer fun.

Summer is here! It’s time to enjoy the longer days and warm nights, time to plan outdoor gatherings and picnics, time to soak up the sun and enjoy all that summer brings. This summer, make it a point to incorporate healthy habits into your summer fun.

Check out the tips below for some good ways to maintain your health and wellness this summer.

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking water throughout the day during the summer will help you maintain your body temperature and prevent you from becoming dehydrated. Check out these tips to ensure you’re getting enough H2O, including healthy ways to flavor your water with berries, cucumber, mint and more. You can also use foods with a high water content to help you stay hydrated, including melons, berries and leafy greens.A young girl is happily eating a juicy slice of summer watermelon.
  • Eat fresh produce. Incorporating summer produce into your daily diet is a delicious way to stay healthy. Check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer produce list, so you can incorporate fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet such as berries, melons, corn, cucumbers, peppers and more. MyPlate Kitchen offers recipes that use summer fruits and vegetables to create simple meals and snacks.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. In the summer, we tend to spend more time outside in the sun with more of our skin exposed. According to the Food and Drug Administration, your sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and should be labeled “broad spectrum” to protect you against all types of UV rays. In addition to sunscreen, try to stay in the shade and wear protective clothing like hats and long sleeves when you’re outside. Check out this article for more tips on how to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Protect yourself from the heat. 2023 was the world’s warmest year on record, and extreme heat is becoming more common with high temperatures extending for several days at a time. Use the National Weather Service heat forecast tools to understand more about the risks in your local area. In addition, avoid being out during the hottest times of day, identify places in the community where you can get cool such as a library or shopping mall, and be sure to take precautions if you live alone or have a health condition that is impacted by extreme heat. Check out more information and tips on heat-related illnesses and keeping yourself safe.
  • Protect yourself from bugs and ticks. Mosquito and tick bites can cause many illnesses, so make sure you’re using a good bug spray, especially if you’re hiking or doing activities in the woods or high grass. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a list of effective repellents to use against mosquitoes and ticks.
  • Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes and reduce your risk for cataracts. Be sure that your sunglasses protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunglasses, even inexpensive ones, do. You can also wear a hat to shade your eyes from the sun and protect the tender skin around your eyes.
  • Stay healthy on vacation. If you’re planning to take a vacation this summer, make sure you take care of yourself. Check in with your health care provider before you go and make sure you have enough of any medications you take. Plan to have fun and relax, but try to find ways to move your body, get enough rest and balance out any vacation treats with some healthy foods at the same time. If you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and are worried about going on vacation, check out these tips for managing your PTSD while traveling.A Veteran is participating in water aerobics at a local gym's pool.
  • Move your body. When it gets really hot, it can be hard to get motivated. But exercising regularly has many health benefits, including lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke, maintaining a healthy weight, improving anxiety and depression symptoms, and more. If you’re worried about the heat, try exercising early in the morning or in the evening when it’s cooler outside. Or try doing small amounts of movement throughout the day, such as cleaning, gardening, stretching or a couple of short walks. If you need some help to get started, check out these tips to help you get motivated.
  • Try something new. With the extra sunshine and longer days, you may have more of an opportunity to get outside and experience something new. Try yoga in the backyard or see if your local pool offers water aerobics. Ask a friend to walk a local hiking trail or try a new activity like pickleball, frisbee or tennis.
  • Find time to build and strengthen your relationships. Summer routines can be different with kids home from school and families taking vacations, so make it a point to find time to connect with others. Plan a family get-together, host a potluck with friends, invite a neighbor over for a glass of lemonade or an evening walk, and keep your kids in touch with friends from school. Our social bonds can help us respond better to stress, lower our blood pressure and give a boost to our overall mental health.
  • Use your grill. Grilling can be a healthy and delicious way to cook when you do it safely. Try to avoid highly processed meats like hot dogs and sausages that are high in fat and sodium and grill some veggies or lean proteins like chicken or fish instead. Make sure to cook your meats all the way through and avoid charring them for health reasons. Check out this article on summer grilling for more health tips and some easy grilling recipes to try this summer.
  • Make sure your outdoor cookouts are safe and healthy. Summer gives us a great chance to bring our meals outside, but make sure to keep things safe for you and your guests. The warm weather can cause bacteria to grow, so leaving food out for too long can make it unsafe to eat. Hot foods must be kept hot, and cold foods must be kept cold – when the temperature of food is in between, bacteria multiply. Check out these additional food safety tips for your summer cookouts this season.A father and son napping in a hammock.
  • Get enough rest. Whether it’s the longer days, a change in your normal routine or a family vacation, it can be hard to prioritize sleep in the summer. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night to ensure you stay healthy. If insomnia, nightmares or another sleep disorder is preventing you from getting enough sleep, talk to your health care provider.
  • Create healthy drinks and snacks to stay cool. Use summer fruits and veggies to create drinks and snacks that are refreshing and healthy. Make homemade ice pops using your favorite smoothie recipe. Snack on frozen blueberries or grapes. Try this recipe for chocolate raspberry banana sorbet or sip on a peanut butter and banana milkshake to beat the heat.

Summer is a fun time to vacation and relax, but it’s also a good time to incorporate healthy habits and work on your overall wellness.

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