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  • Writer's pictureDianna Carr

10 Essential Tips to "Be Well" this Summer

Happy June! Pools are open, children are counting down the days until school lets out, and summer is right around the corner. The summer season brings a burst of energy and opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. To make the most of this vibrant time while keeping your health in check, it's important to prioritize certain habits. In this blog post, we will explore ten essential tips to "Be Well" this summer.

1. Stay Hydrated: As temperatures rise, it's crucial to stay hydrated to prevent dehydration. According to the American Heart Association the amount of water you need varies based on your age, geographic location, local climate (e.g., whether it’s hot and humid, or cold and dry), gender, and activity level. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise that "an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women." If plain water is not appealing, try adding fruit or a flavored sparkling non-calorie water. In addition, remind children to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when they're active or spending time outdoors in the heat. Provide them with reusable water bottles and make it a habit for them to sip water regularly. Offer hydrating fruits like watermelon and cucumbers as healthy and refreshing snacks.

2. Enjoy Fresh, Seasonal Foods: Summer brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporating these into your diet can boost your intake of essential nutrients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Opt for colorful options like berries, watermelon, tomatoes, and leafy greens. Involve kids in meal planning and preparation and let them choose and try out new healthy recipes. Encourage the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. When visiting the pool, beach, or park have healthy snacks readily available, such as cut-up fruits or vegetable sticks with dips.

3. Protect Yourself from the Sun and Stay Cool: Whether hiking, swimming, or participating in outdoor sports, it's important to practice sun safety. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests wearing protective clothing, using sunscreen, seeking shade, and regularly checking your skin for any changes. Sunscreen is your best defense against harmful UV rays. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hats to shield yourself from the sun's rays. In addition to the sun's rays, extreme heat can pose health risks, so it's crucial to stay cool during summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises staying in air-conditioned spaces, using fans, and wearing lightweight, breathable clothing. Avoid prolonged sun exposure during peak hours and take breaks in shaded areas when outdoors. This is especially important for young children who can overheat more easily.

4. Stay Active and Get Outside: Take advantage of the pleasant weather by engaging in outdoor activities. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, boosts mood, and helps maintain a healthy weight. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends "at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week as well as muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week." Swimming, cycling, hiking, weight training, and playing sports are excellent choices. In addition, "children and adolescents aged 5-17 years should do at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, mostly aerobic, physical activity, across the week and incorporate vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least three days a week." Encourage kids to spend time outdoors and engage in activities that get them moving. Organize family outings to parks, playgrounds, or beaches where they can run, jump, swim, and play games. Outdoor activities not only promote physical fitness but also allow kids to connect with nature and enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

5. Practice Proper Food Safety: Picnics and barbecues are common summer activities, but it's essential to prioritize food safety. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests keeping perishable foods refrigerated, using coolers with ice packs, and avoiding cross-contamination. Proper food handling can prevent foodborne illnesses. When in doubt, throw it out.

6. Get Adequate Sleep: Quality sleep is vital for overall health and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation recommends school age children should sleep nine to twelve hours per night, teens eight to ten hours, and adults seven to nine hours. Don’t let the extra daylight keep you up too late. Establish a consistent sleep routine and create a cool, dark, and quiet sleeping environment to promote restful sleep.

7. Prioritize Mental and Emotional Well-being: Summer can be a busy and potentially stressful time. To maintain mental and emotional well-being, incorporate stress management techniques into your routine. These may include meditation, deep breathing exercises, spending time in nature, and engaging in activities you enjoy.

8. Try or Learn Something New: Try a new workout class or sport. Go for a hike at a new park. Rent a kayak or paddleboard on vacation. Explore a new local farmer’s market. Summer is a great time to go out on a limb and try something new! Encourage your kids to pursue new interests or hobbies during the summer break too. Enroll them in art classes, sports camps, music lessons, or other activities they might enjoy. Having new experiences and learning new skills not only keeps your family engaged but also promotes personal growth and development.

9. Limit Screen Time: As an adult, you may not get a summer break like you did when you were in school. However, summer is still a great time to put down the devices after work and enjoy being outside. When it comes to children, set limits on screen time to ensure that they have a balanced summer. Encourage them to engage in other activities like reading books, playing board games, doing arts and crafts, or exploring their hobbies. Limiting screen time helps promote creativity, social interaction, and cognitive development.

10. Foster Social Connections: Meet up with friends at the pool. Invite neighbors over for dinner. Organize playdates and encourage kids to join community programs, sports teams, or summer camps where they can interact with peers and make new friends. Social interactions contribute to emotional well-being and social development. We are better together, and summer is a great time to connect with old and new friends!

By following these ten essential tips to "Be Well" this summer, you can maximize your enjoyment of the season while safeguarding your well-being. Remember to stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun, prioritize nutritious foods, and engage in regular physical activity. Implementing these practices will help you have a safe, happy, and healthy summer.

Until next time....Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.



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