Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Your health during the summer

Published:Wednesday | July 14, 2021 | 12:06 AM

Summer is a great time to think about how to become the best version of you. Creating a healthy environment around food, exercise and rest will ensure success with overall health. One of the most important things to remember, only you are in charge of respecting your body and providing you with what you need.

Tips for a healthy summer

STAY HYDRATED

Try and keep cool in extreme heat. Extreme heat can be dangerous for everyone, but it may be especially dangerous for people with chronic medical conditions. Water is the perfect way to keep hydrated and keep appetite in check. Add a splash of flavour with fruit juice or fresh cucumbers, lime slices or fruit. Be creative.

GET ADEQUATE SLEEP

Not getting enough sleep is associated with increased hunger, higher blood sugars, poor concentration, frequent illness and impaired problem-solving. Make sure to give yourself at least seven hours of sleep each night.

EAT A HEALTHY DIET

Vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains are rich in fibre. Fibre helps you stay full, so you are less likely to eat mindlessly. Strive to eat at least 25 grams of fibre per day. Delicious fruits and veggies make any summer meal healthier.

LIMIT ADDED SUGARS

Try and eat less than six teaspoons of added sugar (this does not include natural sugars found in fruit and milk). This goal may not be realistic every day, but aim for success 80 per cent of the time. Save your six teaspoons for a special dessert. When looking at labels, it is helpful to know that one teaspoon equals four grams of added sugar.

KEEP AN EYE ON ALCOHOL

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to unintended outcomes. Studies show that we make poorer food choices if we have alcohol in our system. A serving of alcohol contains about 100 calories, and mixed drinks have even more. The goal is to limit alcohol to one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men. Drink fluoridated water instead of sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe.

STAY ACTIVE

The stay-at-home orders might have put your exercise plans to the test. Make an exercise goal and stick to it. Get at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity every week. Physical activity has immediate benefits for your health – better sleep and reduced anxiety are two.

ENJOY THE WEATHER

Studies show that when people venture into outdoor settings, the heart rate and blood pressure improve. Take a moment to appreciate being outdoors. Pick one outdoor activity: going on a hike, taking a nature walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, rollerblading, or swimming.

BE GOOD TO YOUR EYES

To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99 per cent of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes.

When playing sports or doing tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear protective eyewear. Ask your eye doctor about the best type; some are sport-specific.

GRATITUDE

Find a moment each day to reflect on a few things that brought you joy or good feelings. Being grateful and positive can help you thrive in a healthy life.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; WebMd – ‘Summer Steps for Healthy Living’.