It's easy to adopt the "School's Out" mentality for summer, ditching all of your healthy habits for a more laid-back lifestyle. Don't let that happen! Summer is the perfect time to make a few little tweaks to your routine that will result in healthy habits for the long-term. Choose a few of the tips below and improve your health with hardly any effort.
8 Steps for Healthy Living This Summer
Berry Boost - Summer is prime berry season, so take advantage of the low prices and great taste by adding a cup of berries to your menu each day. Berries (especially blueberries and blackberries) are full of antioxidants, which are known to help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risk of age-related diseases. Berries are also high in fiber, which is great for keeping cholesterol low and helping to prevent some cancers.
Plant a Garden - To improve your stress level, plant a small garden, tend to some window boxes, or just plant a few flower pots. Contact with soil, and a specific bacteria found in soil, has been shown to trigger the release of serotonin in our brain. Serotonin is the "feel good" chemical in your body, a natural anti-depressant that also strengthens the immune system.
Floss Daily - You know it's good for you, your dentist tells you to do it, so what are you waiting for? Start now and make it a habit to floss when you brush your teeth at night. Flossing reduces oral bacteria, which improves overall body health. If oral bacteria is low, your body has more resources to fight bacteria elsewhere.
Get Outside to Exercise - It's summer, enjoy it! Take a walk on the beach, swim in the pool, go for a bike ride... whatever makes you feel good! Better yet, make it a family event and play outdoors together.
Protect Your Eyes - The Florida sun is fierce! When outdoors, protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, burned corneas, eyelid skin cancer, and wrinkles around the eyes.
Take a Vacation - Improve your heart health; take a vacation to relax and unwind. Vacations have multiple benefits - they can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol, which contributes to a larger waistline and increased risk of heart disease.
Go Light on Alcohol - The heat of the summer and heavy drinks just don't go well together. Instead, if you are going to drink, choose a lighter beverage such as a wine spritzer, sangria, or a light beer. Make sure you drink plenty of water if you will be consuming alcohol outdoors.
Sleep Well - Resist the urge to stay up later during the long summer days. Keep your bedtime and wake time consistent from day to day, even on weekends. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Use this summer to create some healthy habits. Small changes over time lead to lasting results!