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Tips for a Happy, Healthy Summer

5 min read

The warmer, longer days that summer supplies are an invitation to welcome new, healthy habits. Perhaps you’ve already embraced a healthy routine and want to take it a step further, or you’ve found yourself in a bit of a rut and need some inspiration. Whatever the case may be, consider incorporating the following ideas into your summer schedule.

  • Get plenty of sleep. With the sun setting later, it’s tempting to stay up later too. Studies show that regularly obtaining seven or more hours of sleep per night promotes optimal health among adults aged 18 – 60. Sleep needs can vary for a multitude of reasons, but the bottom line is, don’t skimp out on sleep! Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, even on the weekends, can help your body rise more naturally and feel better rested.
  • Go for a daily walk. A walk during any time of day is a great way to move your body but consider an outside walk, first thing in the morning, to boost your energy, improve your mood, and complete your activity goals before your day has even begun. A 30-minute walk, five mornings a week, will help you meet a weekly goal of 150 – 300 minutes of moderate exercise while reducing your risk of heart disease by 19%.
  • Start a garden. Gardening provides numerous benefits to the body and mind, some of which you may be surprised to learn. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gardening is exercise. Activities like shoveling, digging, and chopping wood are vigorous exercises that use every major muscle group in the body. Anyone who has woken up sore after a day of yardwork can testify to this! Gardening has also been shown to improve mood and lessen feelings of anxiety and depression. Researchers are beginning to study the connection between gardening and improved memory, while others at the University of Pennsylvania report that people who garden are more likely to get a solid seven hours of sleep at night. In summary, gardening builds strength and helps maintain a healthy weight, promotes sleep and brain cognition, and improves mental health for the better.
  • Try something new. Summer is a great time to try a new sport like paddle boarding or pickleball, but it’s also an excellent time to hone a new skill like photography, journaling, or embroidery.
  • Participate in a 5k. Have you ever wanted to complete a 5k, but aren’t sure where to start? For beginners, running at least two times a week during the two months leading up to the 5K while increasing the distance and intensity of your runs will have you ready for race day. Some of the benefits associated with running a 5k are improved cardiovascular health and fitness, enhanced weight loss and metabolism, and better mood and overall mental health.
  • Do a “digital detox.” Americans spend an average of four hours watching TV and about seven and a half hours on digital devices each day. Taking a break from technology or limiting your time online can lessen stress and improve focus, while freeing up time to try one of those above mentioned hobbies! Social media detoxes have been gaining popularity as correlations between social media and negative self-esteem, feelings of anxiety and depression, and isolation increase. Taking a break from the digital world may be just you need to feel relaxed and refreshed.
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about. Summer brings with it ample opportunities to volunteer at local events or charities. Consider volunteering for a cause close to your heart – something you’re passionate about, or an organization you believe in – and find a sense of purpose and community, new friends, improved self-esteem, and fun!

Whether you’re out walking or working in the garden, be mindful of your exposure to the sun’s rays. Your skin uses sunlight to make vitamin D, which is essential for numerous body functions including strengthening your bones and immune system, but it needs to be balanced against over exposure and the risk of skin cancer. A little sunshine goes a long way in the body, but when in doubt, cover your skin with appropriate clothing and quality sunscreen.

With an abundance of fruit and vegetables currently in-season like asparagus, beets, carrots, corn, peaches, plums, and watermelon, consider incorporating fresh produce into your snacks and meals as much as possible. Staying hydrated during long, hot summer days is equally important as the risk of dehydration increases. The recommended water intake for men is 3.7 liters (or about 130 fluid ounces) and 2.7 liters for women (or about 95 fluid ounces). If exercising vigorously or spending several hours outside in the sun, don’t forget to replenish the essential electrolytes lost through perspiration.

No matter how you spend your time, be sure to find new and enjoyable ways to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, and make it your happiest, healthiest summer yet!