It is finally summertime! This is the time of year to get outside, take vacations and enjoy long days with loved ones. It’s also the time of year for sunburns, dehydration and swimsuits. Our community of physicians had some compelling insights to share on staying healthy this summer, so we’ve pulled together five tips for maintaining healthy habits while having fun in the sun this season.
Tip #1: Hydrate
Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy. It helps stabilize body temperature, fuel the brain and filter out waste. One of our Family Medicine physicians recommends drinking six to eight glasses of water a day, but staying hydrated can be challenging for some, so we recommend tracking your water intake through a health app or adding fresh fruit to mix up the flavor.
Tip #2: Get your steps in
Regular physical activity is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle year-round. We know that routines, especially workout routines, may seem near impossible to keep consistent in the summer months as travel and events fill up our schedules, but there are other ways to stay active when on the move. In our poll of 2,525 physicians, 30% said they enjoy running or jogging outside, and 17% enjoy cycling. Whether you’re exercising outdoors or at the gym, it’s possible to get your steps in.
Tip #3: Wear sunscreen
While it’s important to limit your direct exposure to the sun when UV rays are the strongest, exposure during the day is crucial to our wellbeing. Not only does it help our bodies absorb calcium to keep our bones strong, it can also have an impact on mood and sleep quality. Our community has recently started to see an increase in the number of patients with Vitamin D deficiency. Specifically, 1,576 polled physicians saw a 62% rise in deficiency according to our findings.
To protect your skin while still getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D, the American Cancer Society recommends wearing protective clothing or seeking shade at times when the sun is at its highest point between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, and to use sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection anytime you plan to be outside.
Tip #4: Choose healthy food and drinks
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy in-season fruits and vegetables, but the warmer weather also brings plenty of barbeques that generally involve unhealthy cookout foods. Beat the temptation to overeat less healthy offerings by filling up on the healthy, fresh foods first. One of our physicians said it best, “There are no bad foods, there are only bad amounts.” Start your meal with berries, melons, vegetable skewers and corn to add a little color to your plate.
Tip #5: Rest Up
Mental health and physical health are connected, so by taking care of your body you’re also taking care of your mind. Lounging by the pool or at the beach are great ways to relax, but even in the summer, unhealthy stress patterns can be common and difficult to address. According to our poll of 1,501 physicians, 88% think stress is an underrated health threat. In fact, one of the general practitioners in our community wrote, “I think that we don’t fully grasp how badly the nervous system needs to let go and come into full relaxation periodically. When stress is unremitting things go south very quickly.” We all feel stressed at times, but taking steps to change that can be as simple as spending time with friends and family, getting seven to nine hours of sleep or unplugging from technology. Creating a space where you can let go can help encourage a stress free summer.
We hope these tips from our physician community inspire you to live a fun, active and healthy lifestyle this summer and all year long. For more physician insights and poll data, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.