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Healthy Summer Habits

It’s August, and summer comes around again this month. August usually brings lots of chances to get outdoors with friends and family. This season, many of us may still be playing it safe indoors. We may be catching up with loved ones on the phone and online, so we can help keep everyone healthy. Here are some other ways we can help boost our health for the summer.

Be summer-savvy

Make the most of this time to help you get healthy and stay healthy. Stay active in safe ways that help keep your body in good shape:1

Beat the heat! If you exercise in your yard, be active in the early morning. Watch the sun come up while moving in place with exercises like stretches, jumping jacks, or skipping rope.
Sidewalks sizzling? Get moving indoors! Get active in the privacy of your home with a fitness video on DVD or online.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Drink more water as the temperatures rise.
Fuel up. Help yourself stay active by getting lots of nutrients. Mix up your meals, using these healthy foods:
Whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds
Fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese
Seafood, poultry, and eggs
Grow your own food! Start a small garden in your yard. It can be satisfying to eat fruits and vegetables you planted yourself. Gardening may also be a great way to exercise.

Remember to talk to your health care provider before starting a new diet or exercise program.

Protect against the rays

Many of us like to get out in the sun for warm summer days. We can do this safely, even in our yards, if we protect ourselves against the harmful part of the rays — the ultraviolet (UV) light. UV rays may damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Try to make it second nature to stay safe from too much exposure.2

Here are some tips:2

Load up on sunscreen. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15. SPF is the sun protection factor. Higher numbers mean more protection from UV rays. Also check the sunscreen’s expiration date to make sure it still works. Put on a thick layer before even going outside. Reapply it after two hours.

Dress for health. Fabric that is dry and woven tightly offers the best protection from UV rays. Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Top off your outfit with a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and neck.

Coloring Your Plate With Fruits and Veggies

Summer means fresh produce. At your grocery store or farmer’s market, you may see fruits and vegetables of every color. August can be a good time to try colorful new meals. Wash your hands after visiting the grocery store. Also wash all produce, even if it has a rind to peel.

Here are 10 foods in season in D.C. this month. Pick a few of different colors and look online for recipes that use them. Then try out your new recipes in colorful summer plates:3

Asparagus
Beets
Black-eyed peas
Blueberries
Carrots
Cucumbers
Nectarines
Radishes
Raspberries
Spinach

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These articles are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to take the place of your primary care provider (PCP). If you have questions or are on a special diet prescribed by a provider, talk with your PCP before making any changes. Check with your PCP before starting any exercise program. If you think you need to see your PCP because of something you have read in this information, please contact your PCP. Never stop or wait to get medical attention because of something you have read in this information.

Sources:

1 “Healthy Habits for Summer,” National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/healthy-habits-summer
2 “Sun Safety,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
3 “Produce Available in Washington DC in Early June,” Seasonal Food Guide, https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/washington-dc/early-june

Data in this guide comes from the Natural Resources Defense Council and state departments of agriculture and university extension programs across the U.S.

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

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