Summertime means pool parties, barbecues, long weekends and vacations, all of which make it easy to throw healthy habits to the side. Many people find it difficult to stick with a nutritious diet when there are so many fun treats to be had, or stay physically active when the temperature drastically increases. However, there are some simple ways you can help yourself stay healthy over the summer without sacrificing fun.
Healthy Food and Drinks
Thinking of eating healthy over the summer can make you feel like you’re missing out on seasonal treats, but there are many nutritious options to choose from that are also delicious. For instance, fresh berries are in season, such as blackberries, blueberries and strawberries that all make a great snack with benefits. These are packed with antioxidants that help prevent tissue damage and reduce your risks of age-related illnesses. They also provide your body with fiber to help keep cholesterol low and may help prevent certain cancers.
It’s easy to create delicious seasonal salads with healthy ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted beans, yogurt and more. Fish and poultry are also great, light options for mealtimes that won’t have you feeling weighed down in the heat. In terms of beverages, water should always be the top choice in the summer to keep your body hydrated. Invest in a reusable bottle to keep with you throughout the day to make sure you are getting enough, especially if you are participating in physical activity. For those times you want a little extra flavor, make some sun tea with your favorite flavors.
If you choose to partake in alcoholic beverages, steer clear of hard alcohol and opt for something lighter and more refreshing such as sangria, light beer, or wine spritzer. As always, be sure to drink in moderation, which is considered to be one to two drinks per day. It can be easy to drink too much too quickly during the hot summer months, so alternate with ice water regularly.
Get Outside and Be Active – or Just Relax
Yes, it is hot, but getting outside can be good for you in so many ways. If you have a space for it, create a garden area or plant some flower pots. In fact, working in soil and dirt has been shown to help relieve physical and mental stress, so don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Going outside also provides many ways to be active and make exercise fun. Look for an area nearby to go hiking or take a nature walk, play in the yard with your kids, go for a bike ride, or even take a few laps around the pool.
Of course, going outdoors requires certain protections to make it enjoyable and keep it safe. Always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing and accessories, such as hats and sunglasses, to avoid burns and potential long-term damage. If you plan on being in or near wooded areas, use bug repellents to keep mosquitos and ticks at bay. Experiencing nature is truly a great way to relax and ground yourself, but it can be ruined easily with pesky insects or a painful sunburn!
Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to stay on track throughout the season, but luckily, summer provides us with many wonderful opportunities to take part in healthy activities and enjoy fresh, nutritious foods. Taking care of yourself is important, and that includes regular visits with a physician to keep you feeling your best. At Decatur County Memorial Hospital, we are here to help, with everything from a Well Clinic to Family Medicine, Women’s Care, and more. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a checkup, or you need medical assistance this summer, contact or visit us today.