July 15th, 2014 | Miller Advisors

8 tips for staying healthy this summer

The days are longer, the sun is out and the temperature is warm. If you’re like many Pacific Northwest dwellers, you feel the urge to be on-the-go during the summer months so that the beautiful weather doesn’t slip away before your eyes. Because summertime in the Pacific Northwest is unlike any other season, it can be easy to get caught up in the fun and not cater to your well-being. Use the reminders below to keep your health in check as you enjoy the sun and all that summertime has to offer.

1. Take advantage of your local farmer’s market:
Your local farmers market is bound to be full of plump, fresh berries, vegetables, fish, and other sustainable goods to keep you feeling satisfied and healthy. Snacking on fiber-rich berries such as blackberries, blueberries and raspberries can also help keep you feeling fuller longer. (One cup of blackberries or raspberries has 8 grams of dietary fiber.) By purchasing your fruit and veggies locally, and you also get a more bang for your buck as farmers sell pesticide and herbicide-free for cheaper than grocers do.

2. Wear Sunscreen:
Not only does sunscreen help protect against skin cancer, it also helps prevent facial brown spots and skin discolorations, reducesthe appearance of facial veins and blotchiness and it prevents skin from wrinkling prematurely. Keep in mind also that SPF is not necessarily a consumer-friendly number. According to dermatologist, James M. Spencer, MD, “An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 blocks about 98% of rays.” (Source: Salyn Boyles, reviewed by Laura J. Martin, WebMD).

3. Watch your non-alcoholic beverage choices:
Summer is the season for BBQ’s, picnics, family reunions, wedding showers and baby showers. Most of the time, high-calorie beverages such as lemonade and soda are readily available. Watch your consumption to avoid consuming unwanted and under-appreciated calories or opt for water with lemon, or unsweetened tea instead.

4. Watch your alcohol:
Alcohol should always be consumed within limits but heat and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Alcohol interferes with balance, coordination and judgment-and combined with heat exposure, the effects are heightened. It will also dehydrate you if you aren’t consuming enough water and are over-heated. Think twice before reaching for a beer on the boat or at the beach and opt for some ice water instead.

5. Keep your sleep patterns consistent:
Sometimes those extra hours of daylight make the night seem young. The result is that people will stay out later than they should and miss out on sleep. If you find yourself waking up feeling groggier than normal, ask yourself what time you went to bed and strive to keep it consistent so that you get the same amount of hours of sleep each night.

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate:
Every cell, organ and tissue in your body needs water to function properly, thus staying hydrated, is essential for good health. Keep a water bottle on hand throughout the day and refill it several times. Start and end your day with a glass of water. Hydration is essential all throughout the year, but excessive sweating due to warm weather can lead to dehydration.

7. Maintain your regular exercise habits:
Most gyms are air-conditioned which provides bearable conditions for members when the weather is hot. Moreover, the heat should not be an excuse to skip your regular workout. If you typically exercise outdoors in the afternoon and the heat is unbearable, do yourself a favor and wake up an extra hour early to get it done first thing in the morning. If you cannot quite get yourself up that early, wait until the temperature has cooled down a bit and go in the evening. Just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your bedtime. Skipping workouts due to heat is a common excuse that may seem smart at the time, but your body won’t be thanking you later.

8. Stop thinking you’re missing out and relax:
Live fully in the moment and quit thinking you need to be somewhere you are not. Nice weather can bring forth anxiety and “fear of missing out” when you see pictures of your friends and family enjoying their fun sunny-day activities. If you’re at home reading a book on your patio, be thankful for the sun and the shade that the trees in your yard have provided you to keep cool, and just enjoy your quiet time. As Maya Anngelou once said, “Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”

Source and image: Kristen Perrin