As summer reaches full swing, activities and habits that promote healthy living become more important. While exercise and healthy eating are always top of mind, you should also consider other things that can impact your overall health. Here are some tips for staying healthy this summer.
Tip 1: Make time for your health checkups.
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As the pandemic raged on, many of these appointments got rescheduled or canceled due to sheltering in place. Now that the world is opening up again and sheltering in place is no longer in effect, it is vital to begin scheduling your annual appointments again. Making these appointments now will help you secure a spot since many places will start overbooking as patients will be looking to schedule their missed appointments.
The last year created a lot of stress and uncertainty. Being able to get a check-up on the basics will help ensure you are healthy. This includes going to your general practitioner for your annual physical. Getting an overview of things like your cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and even your lung health can give you an idea of any health concerns that may have come up during the pandemic.
Going to your more specialized doctors can help you manage your health as well. Making an appointment with your dentist for a teeth cleaning can bring you peace of mind knowing your oral health is up to par. You may have let some dental problems slide during the height of the pandemic, but knowing that your oral health connects to the health of your whole body should be enough to convince you to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Annual appointments have always been an important part of maintaining your health. They ensure that your medications are working to the best of their abilities and they help your doctor monitor you for any changes to your body and general health. These appointments are essentially the baseline to helping create a daily regime of healthy habits.
You should also make an appointment with your optometrist to check on your eye health. If you are someone that wears glasses, your annual eye exam is more important than ever. Working from home for the better part of a year has led to some major eye health concerns. Dealing with the effects of blue light, eye strain, and spending days on end staring at digital screens makes it even more important to get your eyes examined to see if your prescription requires any changes. Another benefit to scheduling your annual appointment is that your eye doctor will also check for any major changes, like astigmatism or glaucoma, which can gradually develop over time or with age. Receiving an updated prescription incentivizes you to buy a new pair of eyeglasses which will have your eyes feeling brand new.
Tip 2: Protect yourself outdoors.
Summer is a great season for a lot of outdoor activities. Going camping, swimming, or hiking gets you out into the world and provides some great exercise opportunities. While being outside, it is important to protect yourself and loved ones.
Overindulging in the sunshine can lead to a multitude of health problems if you are not protecting yourself fully. Things like sunstroke and sun poisoning can leave you feeling nauseous, dehydrated, and burnt. Making sure you are using sunscreen each day, and reapplying when recommended is vital to keeping yourself protected from the sun. There are plenty of types of sunscreen on the market, from ones conveniently in an aerosol spray, which covers your whole body quickly, to those specifically formulated for your face. Finding the right sunscreen for you will help ensure you can safely have fun in the sun.
Another thing to protect yourself from is bug bites. The warmer weather signals the beginning of tick season, which generally lasts until the ground freezes over. Ticks are very small, but their bites can cause harm that lasts a lifetime. These bugs are carriers of many different illnesses, but the most common is Lyme disease. If you get bit by a tick carrying Lyme, you may experience a plethora of symptoms. They can include rashes, fatigue, muscle aches, fevers, and even in more serious cases, facial paralysis. Because of how small this bug is, and how often these bites go unnoticed, it can be a long process to get proper treatment for any ailments the bite may cause.
Being vigilant during tick season can help protect you from a potential bite. Using repellant sprays, avoiding tall grass when necessary, and wearing light-colored clothing can help you avoid ticks. It is also often suggested to tuck your pants into your socks to help you avoid ticks latching onto your ankles. Doing a quick inspection of your body each night, whether it’s in the shower or when changing for bed, will also help you find a tick before it does too much damage.
Tip 3: Manage your sleep schedule.
A major part of any healthy life is having a healthy sleep schedule. After more than a year of being stuck indoors and not being able to socialize normally, the desire to live life to the fullest and take advantage of every opportunity that comes by seems like an amazing idea. Being able to create a balance between your daily schedule and your sleep schedule will help keep you healthy. Having an unhealthy relationship with sleep can bleed into your conscious life; burnout, fatigue, and irritability are three of the most common byproducts of having a poor sleep cycle.
If you find yourself having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, there are things you can do on your own before you turn to medications. Practicing yoga before bed can help stimulate the right mindset for sleep. During this time you may also consider limiting your screen time in the hours leading up to sleep to help your mind relax. The screens we encounter every day tend to overstimulate the mind so be sure to limit the use of them in the evening or during times you want to relax.
Finding the right sleeping conditions for you will also help facilitate a healthy sleep schedule. Everyone’s ideal sleeping environment is different, some might need a window open and a breeze flowing through the room, while others may need the temperature at a completely fixed number without any disturbance to the airflow in the room. Figuring out what you need can help you sleep soundly more often. You may find you need total and complete darkness to fall asleep, so investing in blackout curtains could be extremely useful for you. You might also find the noises of the outside world incredibly distracting, so investing in a white noise machine to produce gentle white noise to surround you can help you sleep.
Tip 4: Upgrade your summer diet.
Having a healthy diet is always something to strive for regardless of the season. In the summer, you may find yourself more active, so it’s important to create a diet that can sustain all of that activity. There are plenty of foods that are perfect for a summer diet that are easily accessible and taste great. Whether you are spending the day hiking or sitting on the beach soaking up the sun, your diet can affect how your energy for the day plays out.
On days you intend to be searching for adventure you should eat well beforehand. Usually, this means some carbs and protein to help create and maintain that energy while you are out in nature. You should also consider bringing along a snack that has healthy ingredients that will keep your energy going throughout the day.
Beyond knowing what foods you should be eating on days like this, you should always be wary of the foods you should not be eating. Much of the major junk foods and convenience foods won’t provide you with sustainable energy so it is best to avoid them when you are trying to live a healthy and active life.
Making sure you stay hydrated throughout the day is also a major component of a healthy diet. The recommended amount of water to drink a day is 64 fluid ounces, which may seem like an overwhelming amount of water, but rationing that water out throughout the day makes that goal more manageable. Regardless of if you are an active person or not, if you are not drinking enough water, you could be putting yourself at risk of dehydration.
It is important to understand the signs and effects of dehydration so you can combat them before they become severe. It is often said that once you start to feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. To keep from dehydrating, consider a large insulated water bottle to have with you throughout the day. Your water will stay cold and refreshing, which will offer a nice reprieve from the summer heat, and you will have water available at all times.
Managing your health in the summer takes no more effort than the rest of the year. The key is to be aware of what your body needs. Food, sleep, shelter, a visit to the doctor, whatever your body may need, you need to provide it. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important jobs you will ever have.