No matter what age you are, there’s no denying that the summer season signals long, lazy days, sweet seasonal treats, and vacation mode!
And while it’s extremely easy to slip into “summer break” status, there are big benefits to sticking to or starting healthy summer habits. You can continue to prioritize your personal health, bolster healthy behaviors, and feel great day-to-day in order to really savor this sun-soaked season. Try these simple hacks to help you have a healthy, happy summer:
1. DRINK UP. We tend to sweat more in the summer, so it’s extra important to give your body the fluids it needs to work well. A good rule of thumb is about 9-12.5 cups of fluids each day. Water is the ideal choice for most of your daily fluids, but there are lots of other options to help you hydrate—sugar-free sparkling waters, fruit-infused water, and even some fruits and vegetables. Just be cautious with the caffeine content of your drink choices as too much can cause health problems.
2. SWITCH THINGS UP. Many things can change along with the seasons – the temperature, our daylight hours, our schedules and even our taste buds. Instead of fighting to fit your “regular” routine into this new time of year, try switching up a few things slightly so your healthy habits aren’t thrown off-track. For example, maybe slow cooker soups sound less appealing so you put your Crockpot away and dust off your best blender. Or, maybe it makes more sense to get to the gym early in the morning versus in the afternoon now with the kids out of school. Find, don’t fight, what works for you right now!
3. WORK UP A SAFER SWEAT. If you enjoy being active outside, you’ll want to keep cool in the hot heat to avoid dehydration and other heat-related illnesses. Adjusting your activity time to take place during the cooler hours of the day – either early in the morning and/or later in the evening – could be a big help. Also be sure to put on loose, light-colored, moisture-wicking clothing and pace yourself, allowing your body to rest often if needed.
4. UP YOUR SKIN PROTECTION. Your skin is technically the largest organ of your body and requires some extra TLC in the summertime. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.? No matter your skin type or tone, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by seeking shaded areas, wearing protective clothing (like hats and sunglasses), and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
5. GIVE UP PERFECTION. If there’s one thing I’ve learned working with clients towards better health and wellness it’s this – that you don’t have to be “perfect” in order to make progress. So if you have goals to slay during the dog days of summer, give yourself permission to find your own personal version of “healthy” that feels good for your body and your well-being right now. You might even try the 80/20 approach. This means that 80% of the time you are sticking to healthy habits you know your body needs for good health, and 20% of the time you’re allowing for some leeway and fun to fit into your summer routine.
Lindsey is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, CDC Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Coach, and employee wellness expert in Franklin, TN. She graduated from the Dietetic Internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and prior to this, earned her B.S. in Human Ecology from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
With over a decade of dietetics experience spanning the fitness industry as well as the public sector, Lindsey has appeared on Bustle, BuzzFeed, Greatist, HealthDay Living, POPSUGAR Fitness, and Well+Good. Lindsey is passionate about helping people dial down their food frustrations and turn up the healthier habits that make for a happier life.