We’re pinning a lot of hopes on summer 2021. For many of us, it signifies getting somewhat back to normal after a year of unprecedented isolation. People are planning vacations, parties, and more for the warmest months of the year. While all of this is exciting, it’s important not to lose focus on bigger things, like our health.
For the last year, there’s been more attention paid to the things that keep us healthy. Preventative health has become a trend, and that shouldn’t change for the summer. As we move into a time that’s more like what we’re used to, it’s crucial to maintain these practices. In this article, you’ll find ways you can invest in your health for an easy transition into summer.
1. Take a Ride
Warmer weather creates the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside. Take advantage of the temperature and boost your health by finding alternate ways to get around. Bicycles can be a great way to do both.
If you live in a bigger city or a particularly hilly area, an electric cruiser bike could be the best way to go. That way, you’ll get the benefits of a bike ride without completely wearing yourself out.
The physical benefits of riding are relatively easy to figure out. You’ll work to improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall mobility and strength. However, there are also mental health benefits to biking around town. Primarily, you’ll experience some stress relief, which everyone could use after last year. So the next time you need to get from point A to point B, consider hopping on a bike and enjoying the outdoors.
2. Wear Your Sunscreen
When you’re enjoying your time outside, be sure to protect yourself from the sun. It seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget, especially if you only plan to be outside for a short time. Get into the habit of always wearing sunscreen when you go out early on in the summer. Then it will become part of your leaving-the-house routine.
In addition to sunscreen, it’s not a bad idea to be equipped with sunglasses and a hat. Both can guard more sensitive areas of your body and provide additional protection.
In addition to saving you from a painful burn, sunscreen and other protection can protect your health long term. Sun damage can cause your skin to age faster and increase your risk of skin cancer. Do what you can to avoid all of this by consistently applying sunscreen when you go outdoors.
3. Adopt an Aloe
Nobody’s perfect, and even those who generally remember to protect their skin may experience a sunburn. Many turn to store-bought aloe vera gel to relieve the pain and dryness of the burn, which definitely helps.
There is another approach, though, that can provide additional benefits beyond pain relief. Consider growing your own aloe vera at home.
Aloe vera is a type of succulent, which means it’s relatively low maintenance for a house plant. It will also keep you stocked with a steady supply of burn-relieving gel. Simply harvest an outer leaf, cut it open, and access the gel inside. Beyond the specific health benefits of the aloe vera itself, tending indoor plants can lower stress and boost your mood.
4. Expand Your Garden
Once you’ve conquered the world of indoor plants, it may be time to move your skills outside. Summer is a great time to enjoy the labors of an outdoor garden. The primary health benefit of a garden is pretty straightforward. You’ll have your own supply of fresh produce throughout the summer.
Since you choose which vegetables to plant, you can be sure they’ll be ones you enjoy eating. (CSA boxes have their benefits, but the eater's choice isn’t always among them.) With some planning, you can also save parts of your harvests to enjoy year-round.
Beyond the fresh food benefits of gardening, there are other perks. Working in a garden is physical activity, so you’ll get some exercise while maintaining your plants. Being outside will also boost your Vitamin D intake through sun exposure. Just be sure you’re wearing your sunscreen so you don’t get too much sun.
5. Stay Hydrated
Beyond sunburn, there’s another risk associated with outdoor activities: dehydration. When spending time outside, and especially when exercising, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water.
Dehydration is a more significant risk during the summer due to the warmer weather. If you’re outside, you’ll likely sweat more, meaning you need to take in more water than usual.
A simple way to make sure you’re getting enough water is to drink small amounts throughout the day rather than waiting until you’re thirsty. You can also mix it up by adding fruits or other flavorings. If you’re not someone who likes drinking water, you can always make simple popsicles to enjoy instead. Any way you’re getting water into your system is the right way to stay hydrated.
6. Make Fitness Fun
Similarly, any way you’re getting some movement into your day is the right way for you to exercise. Summer is a great time to try new fitness opportunities and get creative. If you have easy access to a lake or pool, consider taking up swimming or another water sport. Or find other ways to take advantage of the season’s fitness opportunities, like hiking or sand volleyball.
If your fitness needs a little more structure, look for local fun runs. These tend to pop up everywhere in the warmer months. They usually have entertaining themes and something that sets them apart from a traditional race. Check your local area for color runs, glow runs, and more to enjoy.
The best part is, you don’t have to be a serious runner to participate. Most of these events are fine with people walking the course as well.
Maintaining health ultimately comes down to finding what works best for you. You may be a cyclist, runner, or someone who likes to putter around the garden. All are perfectly fine and can contribute to your overall health.
After the pandemic year of 2020, health is at the front of everyone’s mind. That means this summer presents a unique opportunity to refocus on what works for your body and keeps you well. Find the things that make you feel good, and you’ll improve your health in the long term.