10 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Summer

Dr. Nancy Simpkins has a few pointers.

From Nancy: As summer begins, we want to be the happiest, healthiest versions of ourselves. Below are 10 easy tips that ensure you’ll enjoy the season.

women on fun pool floaties

 

Drink tons of water

When the weather is warm, we sweat more and the body requires added hydration. Bodily functions like cell formation, urination and joint lubrication all require water. Without enough of it, the body slowly shuts down and you won’t feel well. A rock star in concert, for example, may fall to the stage and faint because the amount of sweating can lower blood pressure to an unsafe level. In order to not feel dizzy or lightheaded in the warm weather, stay well hydrated.

 

Exercise in the early morning or late evening

We all like to take advantage of the beautiful weather by exercising outside but, between the hours of 10am and 2pm, the sun’s strong rays make outdoor walking, running or biking dangerous. As stated earlier, excessive sweating can lower your blood pressure and elevate your heart rate.

 

 

Wear sunscreen all day, every day

After you cleanse and moisturize in the morning, apply at least SPF 15-30 on your face. About 85% of skin cancers appear on the face—the most vulnerable area. I also add a hat and sunglasses. Recent studies have shown a decrease in glaucoma in older women if sunglasses are worn regularly.

 

 

Protect against ticks and mosquitoes

Depending on your area, you may be more prone to tick bites. DEET formulas in commercial bug sprays will protect you. Wearing socks and shoes on hikes can also help, while preventing slippery falls that occur when sporting the wrong footwear (i.e. flip flops). As far as mosquitoes go, there are regions (Florida, Texas, etc.) that continue to have Zika carriers, so check with your doctor if you’re pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant in the next six months.

 

Change your wet bathing suit

There’s a lot of talk that hot tubs and wet bathing suits can cause yeast infections. While there’s no scientific proof to this, if you’re prone to such infections, I believe that a wet suit is the perfect environment for the duplication of yeast. It’s best to change after coming out of the pool or ocean.

 

Schedule check-ups with your doctors

Set up annual physical exams with your primary care doctor, your gynecologist and your dermatologist. The summer days are longer and you can sneak in appointments after work, when the sun is still shining and it’s too early to go home!

 

Take advantage of fresh produce

As summer approaches, many fruits and vegetables are harvested that are amazingly good for you. The more colorful your purchases, the better (yams, broccoli, blueberries, etc.). Visit your neighborhood farmers’ markets—the produce is incredibly fresh and you’ll be supporting local businesses.

 

Go for a long walk in nature each day

Those of us (like me) who have a hard time sitting still to meditate can do a walking meditation through the park or by the beach. Don’t bring your phone if you can help it and listen to the nature around you—the birds, the babbling brook and the blowing trees.

 

Treat burns, bites and bruises right away

Don’t forget about summer injuries such as sunburn, insect bites and trauma from tree branches. The skin is a wonderful barrier to the bacteria of the outside world but as soon as it’s damaged by a bite or burn, bacteria can seep into the bloodstream. Wash all injuries immediately with soap, water and/or hydrogen peroxide. If you notice redness, swelling or streaky lines on the skin, consult a medical professional as soon as you can.

 

Skip town

Try to steal a mini vacation, even if it’s just adding a Friday or Monday to your weekend. All of our batteries need recharging after working hard at the office or at home. Summer is a time to slow down and renew ourselves at the beach, the lake, the pool or an air-conditioned resort. Be good to your body and your body will be good to you.

 

For more from Dr. Nancy Simpkins, read her recent columns on our site or visit her online at NancySimpkinsMD.com.

Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump. Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo.

 

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