Now that summer is upon us, it is important not to let our healthy habits go out the window when planning trips, working summer jobs or enjoying the outdoors. Often times we can feel in a rush to enjoy our time off from school and we may forget to stick to a routine of taking care of ourselves. There are many different aspects of maintaining our health that arise specifically in the summer time, along with the habits we may already have or are working towards.
Some of the most important aspects of our health are diet and exercise, no matter what time of year it is. During the summer, it is so easy to get careless with what we are eating and not keep up on some sort of exercise plan.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity per week, in order to maintain good cardiovascular health and prevent the formation of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease and hypertension. This amount of exercise combined with a healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables and low in excess sugar and fat. This is a simple way to stay healthy and feeling good throughout the summer.
The easiest way to tackle this is to make yourself a plan. Review your schedule and make time each day for exercise, whether it be an hour at the gym before relaxing with friends or a walk around the block on your busier days.
Being unprepared and low on time are the biggest contributors to bad eating habits. Stock up on fruits and vegetables that are easy to eat on your way out the door and plan healthy meals ahead of time. Take a salad to work with you and cook lean meats in bulk to have for dinner throughout the week.
Along with diet and exercise, which are imperative for health year-round, other health issues come up in the summer months to we should also be prepared for.
One of the most important issues during hot months is skin care. Sunburns are all too common and can cause irreversible damage to the skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Protect yourself by always using at least a 15 SPF anytime you are outdoors. Also be sure to examine your skin after a few days outdoors to check for any significant changes.
Another dangerous risk of summer time is dehydration. Being active outdoors is great, but can be harmful if you’re not careful. Remember to be drinking water constantly throughout the day to be more prepared for when you are outside or sweating. Don’t just wait until you’re thirsty. Signs of dehydration can include increased thirst, decreased sweating, dizziness and fainting. Make it a habit to carry water with you at all times and be aware of how you are feeling out in the heat.
There are so many easy things you can do to take care of yourself this summer. The more effort you put into your health, the more enjoyable all your summer activities can be. Check out the Vandal health website for more important health information and resources – www.uidaho.edu/VandalHealth.
Alison Rogers works at the
Student Health Center