Summer has arrived! It is likely that most of us cannot wait to get outside, catch some rays and generally spend more time making the most of the fine weather. But before we disrobe, get into our shorts and get involved in our favourite activities, there are a few things that we ought to bear in mind in order to keep our summer health in tip-top condition.
Here is our pick of the bunch and feel free to add your own!
Top 10 Summer Health Tips
- Don’t forget the sun cream – whatever kind of skin you have and even if the weather is not particularly hot, you still need to protect your skin. Don’t forget it has been covered for the whole winter so reveal it to the sun gradually and use a lotion or cream of minimum SPF 30 to protect from harmful UV rays. Also remember the old saying ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen stay out in the midday sun’ and make sure you don’t! If you go overseas to hotter climates, take a siesta and venture out again once the sun’s heat is beginning to wane.
- Keep hydrated – and that means water, water, water. Drink plenty even if you don’t usually and remember that sometimes we feel the need to eat when our bodies are telling us that we are actually thirsty. Eight glasses a day may sound like a lot but not if you vary plain water with fruit flavoured varieties (try the new water bottles that hold fresh fruit in the bottom), coconut water or even iced tea.
- Eat more fruit – now all the fresh summer fruits are plentiful so get your five a day and more. Try out new fruits such as mangoes, blueberries, watermelon and other exotic types. Mix them up, add them to smoothies and into yoghurt. Take your favourite breakfast cereal and cover with a mix of fresh chopped fruit and ice cold milk. This is a fantastic way to get your body off to a good start in the mornings.
- Get your skin summer ready – your skin may be whiter than white after the winter cover up and also in need of a good pamper. Start off by exfoliating using a loofah or natural sea sponge in the shower, mix in an all-over skin scrub for good measure and then after drying off, add plenty of moisturiser. Choose one to suit your skin type and if you don’t have time to rub it all over, go for one of the sprays which get your skin nicely moisturised in no time.
- Take your exercise outside – whilst you may have no option but to use gyms and indoor facilities during the winter, now the sun is shining you have no excuse not to get outdoors and breathe in some good fresh air whilst keeping active. Switch the treadmill for a jog, exercise bike for off-road cycling and hitting the rowing machine for walking the dog! Not only will the change of exercise be good for your body but spending time outside revitalises the system, is good for the skin and our general good health and adds a healthy glow all over.
- Make a splash – if you have an outdoor pool close by, fantastic. If not, can you head to the beach? If both of those are hard to do then simply find your closest local swimming pool and hit the water. You don’t have to do lengths if swimming isn’t your thing; simply getting in the water, moving your limbs around and maybe getting the children in the family in there with you too, will make the whole thing fun.
- Look after your locks – not only is summer a great time to change your hairstyle and show the world a brand new version of you but now is when you should pay attention to the condition of your hair. Use plenty of conditioners and if the sea salt or swimming pool chlorine leaves you hair looking and smelling less than great, try a full on deep conditioning treatment to get your locks bouncing and shining again and looking fantastic.
- Kick out the stodge – gone are the winter stews, dumplings, hot roast dinners and calorific sauces. Naturally the sun encourages you to want to eat more cold food so include plenty of salads and look for some exciting recipes that can enable you to add in lots of different herbs and vegetables. If you are not a meat eater, swop the cold meats for eggs and cheese or even fish if it is part of your diet.
- Get an outdoor activity – is your garden looking tired and sad after the winter months? Do you have a hobby that you would like to resurrect that will get you out into the fresh air? It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get outdoors and make the best of the great weather while it lasts. Maybe start a vegetable patch or a raised bed with herbs. Outdoor yoga can be fun and even more so if you get some friends to take part; all you need is a large towel, a little bit of space and you can start stretching!
- Go for cottons – cottons, linens and other natural fabrics are much more comfortable to wear in the summer. Not only will you feel cooler but your skin will breathe much more easily, making the sun much bearable. Go for the lighter fabrics that keep you covered but don’t make you feel hot and uncomfortable. If the nights do get chilly, go for cotton knits and avoid man-made synthetics. Also take care of your head; so often we forget that the sun is beating down on our hair and unless we offer some protection with a wide brimmed hat or cap, it won’t take long for headaches to appear due to continual squinting and too much sun hitting our face and eyes.
Summer sun should be fun and by taking a little time to take care of your summer health, you will avoid missing out on quality time outdoors. Now is the time to start building some memories to keep you smiling through the dark winter months so spend time with family, friends and pets and get closer to nature by getting outdoors as much as you can. With the longer days and light nights, there really is no reason not to indulge yourself by soaking up as much of the sun and sky as possible, as long as you take care of yourself at the same time.
As well as boosting our mood, we also get vitamin D from the sun when our skin is exposed to sunlight and in particular, the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. An essential vitamin, it helps with the regulation of calcium in the body, ensuring healthy bones and teeth and can even help to protect us against diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Finally, us over 50s can forget our age and be care-free for a few months while we enjoy the summer and all it has to offer.
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