On The Table

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Summer Health Tips: Beat the Heat with Wellness Top of Mind

Summer is a unique season. For many people, it’s a time for adventure and on-the-go meals. For others, it’s the perfect time to slow down and take each day at their own pace. Wherever this summer takes you, there are ways to keep wellness top of mind.

Summer Health Tips: Beat the Heat with Wellness Top of Mind

Summer can be an exciting season full of adventure. Including summer health tips as part of your daily routine can ensure you stay safe and healthy during the summer months. 

Taking summer wellness tips into account each day can lower the risk of illness and injury, so you won’t have to interrupt the fun. Keep reading for healthy summer tips, including ideas for staying well-rested and hydrated—even if you’re on the road. 

Adopting Summer Health Tips

Summertime brings with it a host of benefits. For example, warmer weather and longer daylight hours likely mean you’re getting more sunshine (and vitamin D). 

However, hot summer days also come with risks. From dehydration to heat stroke, increased sun exposure can be dangerous if you aren’t properly prepared. 

Fortunately, a few adjustments to your wellness routine during the summer can have a protective effect. Focusing on health may not initially sound like your idea of summer fun, but taking time for health can actually help prevent illnesses or injuries that could get in the way of your warm weather activities. 

Looking for tips to stay healthy this summer? Start with the following ideas to improve your daily habits. 

Healthy Eating Practices

Summer brings with it a variety of delicious and nutritious seasonal produce. From fresh fruits and veggies to safe grilling practices, there are plenty of ways to make sure your meals are primed for fun. 

Select Seasonal Produce

One way to stay healthy is by focusing on in-season summer produce, such as herbs, fruits, and veggies. Eating seasonally is a simple practice that can help you feel more connected to this special time of year. 

You may be surprised to find your favorite summer recipes already contain produce that’s in season, such as: 

• Avocados
• Apricots 
• Blackberries and raspberries 
• Cherries 
• Corn 
• Lemons and limes 
• Summer squash 
• Tomatillos 
• Tomatoes
• Watermelons
• Zucchini 

Scout Out Stops Beforehand

Eating on the road? Thanks to social media and the internet, it’s easy to access information about your journey and destination. 

If you’re dining at gas stations, amusement parks, or hotels during your stay, be sure to inquire about food options beforehand. A simple Google search can illuminate your options and leave you feeling more prepared to make healthy choices along your adventure. 

Make More No-Cook Meals 

No-cook meals may sound made up, but they are real and refreshing. Without using the stove or oven, no-cook meals provide a delicious plate in mere minutes. Some meals make use of a slow cooker or Instant Pot in order to keep heat localized to only one appliance. And some options, like overnight oats, are naturally no-bake!

During hot summer months, no-cook meals can keep the house (and your body) cool by minimizing the amount of heat produced in the kitchen. Even the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends taking a stab at stove-free meals during the summer. 

Searching for healthy desserts during the summer? Opt for frozen confections instead of baked goods to keep the kitchen cool. Making frozen snacks and treats—like our Guilt-Free Strawberry Gelato Recipe—at home allows you to customize ingredients and keep recipes healthier.

Grill with Food Safety In Mind 

Grilling can be a wonderful, healthy way to cook food. It can also invite more outdoor dining experiences, which can be a welcome break from the norm. 

However, grilling introduces a host of food safety problems. One easy way to help keep food healthy is to use a food thermometer, especially to make sure meats are cooked to the proper temperature. 

With a few simple tips, you’ll be grilling like a pro in no time. Follow these tips for optimal food safety: 

• Avoid cross-contamination such as using separate cutting boards for meats and veggies
• Begin with a clean grill like removing charred bits from previous items
• Separate cooked and uncooked foods, including equipment, trays, and marinades used in the cooking process
• Use disposable towels for spills (instead of dish towels which can harbor bacteria)

Exercising in the Heat

Summer weather tends to provide more opportunities for exercise. Plus, the great thing about exercise is that it can be done almost anywhere!

Whether you’re walking a local trail or running on a beautiful beach, aim to move your body for at least 30 minutes. 

Avoid Heat-Related Illness

Stay safe during summertime exercise by knowing the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as the following, which can help you recognize when your body is reaching its limit: 

Heat exhaustion: signs include dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or weakness, and thirst
Heat stroke: signs include high body temp, impaired coordination or movement, confusion, fainting or unconsciousness, hot skin with no sweat 
Hyperthermia: mild signs include muscle cramps or swelling of the extremities 

Keep Cool By Taking Breaks 

Choosing a cooler place to enjoy outdoor physical activity, such as beneath the shade of a tree or in a pool, can lower the risk of heat-related illness. It’s thought that the body needs nearly two weeks to get used to working out in warmer temperatures. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to start slow and work your way up in five to 10-minute increments. 

Additionally, taking breaks in the shade can help prevent sharp increases in body temperature. Exercising indoors or in an air-conditioned facility is also an option. Indoor activities may be more appropriate for vulnerable populations—such as older adults, children, or pregnant women. 

Out-of-the-Box Exercise 

Bored with your normal physical activity schedule? Try these out-of-the-box exercise ideas that can help keep you moving while keeping you cool: 

• Dancing in the puddle during summer rainstorms (just beware of thunder) 
• Kite-flying on cloudy or windy days, and remember to wear sunscreen regardless of the weather
• Take a hike through a shady forest or wooded area 
• Waterpark with lots of opportunities to cool off in the water 

Staying Hydrated 

Did you know your body’s fluid requirement is higher when it’s hot outside? In order to stay hydrated, it’s important to carefully select beverages. 

Explore New Options 

Proper hydration begins with water, but that doesn’t mean plain water is your only option. Sparkling or fruit-infused water can make your water better by taking your water bottle from boring to fantastic. Just be sure to keep an eye on added sugars. 

Finding hydration habits hard? Smart bottles can help you keep track. It also helps to remember that nearly every nutrient-rich fluid you intake can count towards your hydration level including: 

• Fat-free or low-fat milk 
• Smoothies 
• 100% fruit juice 

Water-rich fruit and vegetables can also help the body meet its daily fluid needs. If you’re finding it difficult to drink more water, eating the following foods can help boost your body’s hydration status: 

• Berries like blueberries and strawberries
• Celery 
• Grapes 
• Lettuce 
• Melons, including cantaloupe and watermelon
• Pineapples 

Steer Clear of Additives Such As Sugar and Caffeine

When looking for optimal drinks during the summer, it’s important to stay away from added sugars whenever possible. Sugary drinks may sound tempting but can sideline your overall nutrition goals. Additives like caffeine can also cause the body to lose water too quickly. When in doubt, stick with water. 

Moderate Alcohol Intake 

Another healthy decision you can make for yourself this summer is to moderate your alcohol intake. Mixing water recreation activities with alcohol is especially dangerous, and caution should be used if you choose to drink alcohol near a pool or body of water. 

Quick Tips for Proper Hydration

Struggling to sip regularly? Try these quick tips: 

• Add electrolytes (“hydration helpers”) for health and flavor as needed 
• Alternate non-water beverages with water, like making water every other drink you consume
• Keep a refillable water bottle handy
• Work with a dietitian to find out your unique fluid needs

Protecting Your Skin

The sun benefits our bodies in many ways. For example, just 15 minutes a day of sunlight on the skin helps the body make better use of vitamin D. Sunlight also helps the body make sense of sleep and awake cycles, which can encourage better sleep patterns. 

However, too much sunlight can damage the skin, and contribute to problems like dehydration. A special type of light, called ultraviolet (UV) light, can be especially harmful to the skin and lead to sunburn. Even on cloudy days, these rays can cause damage to the skin. 

Stay On Alert for Sunburns and Skin Damage 

While sunburns may seem like only a mild inconvenience, they can actually be much more serious. Excessive sun exposure to unprotected skin can affect many aspects of skin health, including: 

• Skin appearance 
• Skin elasticity (leathery-looking wrinkles or lines) 
• Skin growth 
• Skin cells

Most alarmingly, an excessive amount of sun exposure raises your risk for skin cancer. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent or repair skin damage from the sun, such as:

• Choose shady areas over direct sunlight 
• Limit time in the sun or avoid prolonged exposure 
• Selecting skin care with a sun protective factor (SPF) of 15 or higher 
• Wear sunglasses 

Choose “Cool” Clothes for Added Protection 

If you’re planning to spend time (even a small amount of time) in the sun, it’s important to wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Another great way to stay cool and protect your skin is by dressing for warmer weather. For example, wide-brimmed hats can protect your face from the sun’s harsh rays. 

Getting Enough Rest

Although winter is the season associated with hibernation, sleep is just as important in the summer! Especially with exciting adventures and activities going on, getting enough sleep each night can ensure you have a great time. 

Set Up Your Sleeping Environment

While longer, warmer days are often welcomed, too much light at night can alter sleep patterns. Many people find it helpful to put up blackout curtains during the summer so that they can continue to wake up and fall asleep around the same time each day. 

Manage Summer Stress

Understandably, stress can peak in the summer. Between kids getting out of school and a shift in routine due to trips, the day-to-day can look anything but normal. 

Continuing to use stress management techniques throughout the summer can help to keep cortisol (the “stress hormone”) at its proper levels. Remember to give yourself some grace and wiggle room as your daily structure or schedule changes, and learn to recognize signs of stress in your body.

It may go without saying, but a good night’s sleep is crucial to reducing daily stress. Poor stress management can impact sleep, and poor sleep can impact stress management. Luckily, there are many natural ways to manage stress and encourage rest. 

Pay Attention to Mood and Mental Health 

Trouble sleeping during the summer may be a sign of a unique mental health challenge called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While SAD is often thought of as “winter blues” in the colder months, summer-pattern SAD or “summer depression” also exists. Symptoms of summer SAD generally begin as the season changes. 

Other Healthy Summer Tips

Wellness has so many facets, making it an exciting adventure to embark on. Embrace these additional tips to make the most of warmer days. 

Spend Time In Nature Each Day 

Research continues to prove something that even ancient societies knew, which is that time outside is good for the body and mind. Even a 10-minute walk can do wonders for stress. During the summer, spending time in the sun each day can improve both physical and mental health. 

Connect With Friends, Both New and Old 

During summer, many people describe the dawn of an “inner summer” within themselves. As opposed to winter, summertime makes some people more likely to connect with others (instead of withdrawing or wanting alone time). 

If you’re experiencing this phenomenon, take advantage of your adventurous summer spirit! Incorporate more time with your support system (such as family) or social circle (such as friends) into your schedule. 

Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new scenarios either. Joining a volunteer group, such as a community garden, can introduce you to new friends with similar values and goals. 

In Summary on Staying Healthy with Summer Wellness Tips

Staying healthy during summer can seem daunting at first, especially when schedules are changing. However, no matter where the summertime takes you, seasonal health tips can help you feel your best.

From sun protection to proper hydration, healthy summer habits make sense for every lifestyle. 


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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Risky Drinking Can Put a Chill on Your Summer Fun. Niaa.nih.gov. Published May 2022. 

National Institutes of Health. Beat the Heat. Newsinhealth.nih.gov. Published June 2021. 

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