Winter seems so far away now. Chapped lips, dry skin, scratchy throats and the perils of cold appear to be an era away. With summer in full swing, the only things on our minds are flip flops, shorts and the beach. It is easy to forget the moisturizer when your skin breaks out in sweat so easily. Summer means freedom from woollens and work. With vacations coming up, holidays are uppermost on everybody’s minds. And with no risk of catching one’s death by simple cold and cough, health factors are far removed from your worries. As much as I hate to play spoiler to the party, summer health risks are quite as bad as winter. With travel on everyone’s mind, these risks are infinitely more. Take a few preventive steps to save yourself a lot of fuss and worry later. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry in any season. Take these ten ways to stay healthy in summer to heart and have a rocking summer.
10. Infection Prevention
Sweaty bodies are a paradise for infectious bacteria. It is very important to maintain good hygiene to keep infections at bay. Viral infections, red eyes, low blood pressure and various types of flues and viruses rule the roost in summer. Most of these can be prevented by following through the most simple hygiene rules religiously. Bathe twice a day, concentrating on the areas between your toes, elbows, armpits especially. Brush your teeth and floss regularly. Bad dental hygiene has been known to lead to heart attacks. Keep surfaces clean. Don’t share combs, brushes, towels, handkerchiefs and the likes with other people, even if they are family members. Make sure to toss all linen in the washer regularly. Towels, handkerchiefs, table mats, kitchen wipes and mops should be cleaned in hot water with antiseptic detergent as these are breeding ground for specific harmful pests. Wash your hands before each meal.
9. Happy Mind, Healthy Body
Light fun colours and moods are associated with summer. Spring is in the air, pretty sunshine everywhere. Does your mood match that of the weather? Sure, the scorching heat can be a buzzkill, but don’t let that get you down. If the stress of life is bringing you down, make sure to step back and examine what you can do differently to ease the load. A stressed out psyche and a melancholy mood weaken the immune system. Consequently, you will be a shooting duck for the diseases waiting to enter your body and take control of your life. Let the laughter and joy around you take your mind away from the stress eating your life away. Meditate, go for a run or simply sit back and catch a favourite movie on the telly. Aren’t you feeling happier already?
Moisturizing skin after a bath becomes a sadly neglected activity in the summer months. Either we don’t feel like it because the skin doesn’t feel dry, like it does all the time in winter, or because it makes the skin all the more sweaty and oily. If you too are guilty of this misdemeanor then take care not to repeat it. You are doing your skin and body a great disservice which will cause you infinite regret later. The skin needs moisturizer like your body needs water. When you don’t moisturize, the oil glands produce extra oil to make up for the lack of external sustenance. In effect, you are becoming greasier then if you had moisturized in the first place. Comprende?
7. Antioxidants Intake
Antioxidants boost immunity and it is important to partake them in any season. But it is especially important in summer because falling sick while on vacation can be a real bummer. Also people are vulnerable to local and indigenous infections and diseases while travelling. A strong immune system and a healthy constitution while ensure a bug free travel experience. You don’t want to end up spending your exotic Caribbean getaway stuck up inside a hotel room, do you? Green tea is an invaluable source of antioxidant, so enjoy a cuppa with your breakfast every morning. However, one cup does not do the trick. The secret is to keep sipping on it throughout the day for maximum benefits. Try to swap it with your daily intake of coffee. It might even grow on you. Loads of fruits and berries are rich in antioxidants. Chomp your way to good health.
6. Travel Woes
It cannot be stressed enough how important research and preparation is before undertaking a voyage and vacation. Leave the spontaneity for the glamour mags and the telly shows, especially if you travelling with your family. Travelling with children is a responsibility to reckon with, but you don’t want to be cheated out of your own fun. So spend the days leading up to the vacation feeding up on antioxidants. Get the necessary tetanus and shots that will render you immune to local viruses. Keep up ahead on forms and paperwork to reduce headache while travelling. And don’t splash out on food just because its holiday. Have your share of fast foods and local delicacies, but maintain a balance with daily intakes of fruits and green tea. The healthier your body, the more you will be able to enjoy the vacation.
5. Relaxation Mode
Learn to relax. It is usually difficult to switch from work mode to holiday mode and back again without feeling any depression. But enjoy the time away from work and petty tensions, because it isn’t going to last long. Summer is the time when blood pressures tend to hit an all-time low. Practice breathing deeply, yoga asana, sleeping well and take time away from phones, emails and computer as much as you can. Treat yourself to spas frequently. Just sit in sauna and steam rooms, even if for fifteen minutes only, and try not to think at all. A blank mind for even a short while a day will work wonders. You will feel relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. What’s a better way to stay healthy than that?
4. Exercise Away the Blues
Exercise releases endorphins, which instantly brighten up the mood. It is also extremely beneficial for your body. It regulates blood pressure, keeps a check on the weight and overall promotes excellent health. Come summer, and the most fun forms of exercise are yours for the taking. Swimming of course leads the list. This extreme calorie burning exercise makes you feel better the moment you jump in the cool water. Try surfing or scuba diving if you are more adventurous. Beach side sports offer major attractions as well, not the least of which is getting to see tanned bodies in bikinis and short trunks. Community sports foster a sense of brotherhood and belonging that makes you want to play sports rather than forcing yourself to exercise. Chase away the blues while offering your body a whole host if benefits with fun and games that only summer brings with her.
3. Diet Delicious
All the good exercise in the world is useless if you continue to stuff your body with junk and processed foods. You don’t have to scrimp on taste to afford yourself the benefit if a healthy diet. Gorge on summer delicacies like mangoes, watermelons and grapes which are teeming with vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients. Yoghurt is a nutritious and cooling dessert that improves metabolism and aids in digestion. Try greek yoghurt in yummy flavours like chocolate, strawberry or any fruity flavour of your choice. Skip the ice cream and opt for the healthier and lighter gelato. Eat lots of flavoursome citrus and leafy salads that taste like heaven and are healthy to boot. Thai Papaya and shrimp salad, grilled chicken with watercress and rocket, walnut and pomegranate salad to name a few can make your mouth water. Oriental cuisine is full of such recipes that don’t let you compromise on taste while retaining the purpose of health. Vietnamese Pho, Tibetan thukpa and Cambodian vegetable broth are excellent examples of this kind. Stick to a healthy game plan and you will relish your diet so much so that counting calories will be a forgotten art.
Slather on the SPF no matter how much hate the stickiness. Opt for ones with a fresh and light texture to make it more convenient. You should apply it at least fifteen minutes before leaving home, and then reapply after every two hours. Don’t leave home without a tube in your bag. Try to spend the midday hours, which are the hottest, indoors. If you can’t avoid going out, then apply an extra dose of the SPF. It may sound cumbersome, but once you master the habit, it will not seem so irritating anymore. Every minute you walk in the sun without SPF, you are increasing your chances of skin cancer. That apart, your skin will lose its luster develop spots and pigments and age ten times faster. If you are going to be on the beach or going on a tropical holiday, then be especially mindful of this factor. The sun rays are going to be extra harsh.
1. Hydrate Away
Glug down water ferociously. Dehydration is a risk you cannot afford to take. I have a personal horror story to recount that should make you take me seriously. A friend was playing in the field with his buddies, completely unmindful of the thirst scorching his throat. So caught up was he in the game that the parched body was of no consequence. It was a terrifically hot day in May. While running across the field, he collapsed. Doctors pronounced a sun stroke. He is undergoing surgeries to this day because the left side of his body has completely given up on him. This may be an extreme case, but are you willing to take the risk? If water is too boring for you then try smoothies, fruit juices, iced tea, refrigerated green tea, flavored ice cubes and milkshakes. Peeing frequently is a price worth paying in return for all the advantages you are accruing for your body, both short and long term. Stay away from diet sodas and coke though. That will be doing your body more harm and no good.