5 Health Tips to Get Your Family Ready for Summer
posted by The Live Better Team | May 31, 2016
You’ve sprung forward an hour, the equinox is behind us, the days are longer and you can almost smell dinner cooking on the patio grill. As you daydream of moving the coats and snow boots to the back of the closet and stocking up on new flip-flops and shorts, here are five tips to help you greet the summer solstice on June 21 in top form.
You know how good physical exercise is for you, even just 30 minutes of moderate walking. The National Cancer Institute reports that physical exercise is linked to a reduced risk of breast and colon cancer and likely lowers your risk for cancers of the prostate, lung and uterine lining. Moderate activity keeps blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar levels within healthy ranges, reduces the risk for osteoporosis, strengthens your heart and improves circulation.
Exercise also makes you smarter and prevents memory loss as you age. Peter Snyder of Brown University’s Alpert Medical School reports that exercise is the most effective non-invasive treatment for nourishing new connections between brain neurons, “More so than nutritional supplements, vitamins and cognitive interventions …The literature on exercise is just tremendous.”
If you’ve been relatively inactive over the winter months, build your endurance gradually. Begin with as little as 5 to 10 minutes of sustained activity at a time, and work your way up to a moderate- to-vigorous intensity level that boosts your heart rate. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week and enjoy that exercise outdoors.
Moderate activity keeps blood pressure, blood lipids and blood sugar levels within healthy ranges.
Researchers at Stanford University found that a leisurely, silent stroll alone in nature reduces blood flow to the brain’s “worry and brooding” region. One quick 30-minute walk through your nearest park can transform your mood. Seek out certified wellness trainers if you need support in meeting your fitness goals.
Summer is the perfect time to transition your family over to a healthier meal plan. More time spent in the sun exposes your skin to damaging free radicals. Make high-antioxidant foods the foundation of your family’s diet, with generous portions of dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries.
The lycopene found in foods like cooked tomatoes help fight the sun’s UV rays and protect your skin from the swelling and blistering of sunburn. Serve whole grain pastas with tomato sauce and throw tomatoes on the grill with your burgers and steaks.
Unsightly acne on your arms, back or chest is more troublesome when you bare more of your skin in summer. Exfoliate often, and wash with products that contain salicylic acid. Try tea tree oil and turmeric, and consider investing in a blue light diode device that kills the P. acnes strain of bacteria known to cause acne.
Remember that your skin produces more oil and sweat when the temperature rises, rendering your winter moisturizer too heavy for your skin. Choose lightweight, non-oily facial products and gentle cleansers.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays increases your risk for skin cancer. Protect your family from too much sunlight by adopting the American Cancer Society’s catchphrase: “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap.”
Slip on a shirt, preferably a dark color.
Slop on a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays with a sun protection factor (SPF) value of 30 or higher.
Slap on a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim to protect your eyes, forehead, scalp, ears and nose.
Wrap on 99 percent UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them.
Almost 75 percent of Americans worry about being infected with insect-carried diseases, such as Lyme, West Nile, chikungunya and Powassan, according to a Consumer Reports survey. The good news is that newer products made with plantlike chemicals are more effective than those that contain DEET and contain far fewer side effects.
The repellents tested that contain 20 percent picaridin and 30 percent oil of lemon eucalyptus warded off mosquitoes for at least 7 hours and kept deer ticks away for at least 6 hours.
Do you have questions about preparing your family for a healthy summer? Partner with a patient-focused, collaborative group of Utah physicians pledged to place your family’s health first. Revere Health offers over 30 different medical specialties and comprehensive family medicine for complete health care during all stage of life.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.