Tags: DigIn, Dig In, DigIn23, Magazine, DigInMagazine, summer, safety, guide

Stay Safe for Summer

Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team

The season of warmth and sun can be filled with an amazing amount of fun. If you’re not paying attention, though, the days can get away from you as well as your health. Feel your best in the months ahead by staying on top of your health from head to toe (and everywhere in between).

Protecting Your Eyes and Skin When Outdoors

Mother and Child

Whether you’re working outside, going for a walk with your pup or taking an adventure on the water in your boat, take care of your skin and eyes. Protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays by playing in the shade, or staying inside, during the prime hours of 10am to 2pm. When you are outside, opt for sun protective clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating, wear sunglasses rated for 100% UV protection (or UV absorption up to 400)1 and consider wearing long sleeves, pants and a wide-brimmed hat in addition to wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen for protection against UVA and UVB rays.

Staying Hydrated So You Can Keep the Fun Going

Woman at Beach

The “lazy days of summer” are amazing, as long as you’re not feeling tired due to being undernourished. Fluctuations in your hydration status will impact your energy level. Be sure to be uber attentive to the number of beverages you drink during the summer. Heat and humidity will increase the amount of water you need to consume each day. Focus your choices on those without added sugar, such as still and bubbly water and iced herbal and traditional teas.

Weave in beverage options with more nutritional punch as well, such as milk and 100% fruit juice, by following the recommended serving sizes found at MyPlate.gov.

How to Best Exercise in the Summer Heat

Woman at Beach

Top secret to continuing your favorite outdoor exercise routine is switching up the time of day you head outdoors. In the height of summer, such as August, this may mean waking up to go for your run at 5 am instead of 8 am. Early bird gets the worm (and fun workout) with this flex. Not only will you beat the heat, you’ll beat the sun and have energy for your day ahead.

Earlier not an option, how about later? Sometimes, moving your workout routine to later in the day may feel more beneficial for you. Be sure to choose areas that are well lit while bringing your own head lamp and reflective clothing with you so you can be seen by motorists while seeing where you’re going.

Say Yes to Summer Activities

Woman at Beach

Living in New England, we may have crazy weather shifts, but we do have an abundant number of places to be active in by simply opening the front door. From taking a mid-day walk when working from home in one of our local forests like Mount Tom State Reservation in Holyoke, Massachusetts or Salmon River State Forest in Colchester, Connecticut or roller blading on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Lanesborogh, Massachusetts or the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Farmington, Connecticut after work, there are plenty of ways to weave activities into your summer days.

Mindful Bevvie Sipping

Woman at Beach

If you enjoy a refreshing adult beverage at home or on-site from one of the many local distilleries, wineries, vineyards and breweries in the region, do so responsibly. Not just for the immediate safety reasons but also your long-term health.

Drinking more than is recommended throughout the week—one, 5-ounce serving wine, 12-ounces beer, 8-ounces malt liquor or 1.5-ounces 80 proof distilled spirit per day for women and two for men—not only could add excess calories to your weekly meal plan, it may also put you at risk nutritionally if your intake is off setting your consumption of nutrient-rich foods and water.

Additionally, when done excessively over time, drinking can weaken your immune system while increasing your risk for certain medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, a variety of cancers, and cognitive issues such as dementia.2

Take care of yourself and balance your intake of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages this season when being social on the beach, at backyard barbecues or just relaxing on your deck at the end of the day.

Say Yes to Sleep

Woman at Beach

Reaching at least 7 to 9 hours sleep each day is crucial for many aspects of your health, with mental clarity just being one. That said, add in the hot and humid days of summer that will test your hydration status, and keeping yourself out of a mental fog may become a top priority for feeling your best this summer.

For tips on following a sleep regimen that will help ensure you reach your hours of Zzz’s each night, check out our “Bring Sleep Back” article.

Embracing Down Time

Woman at Beach

When you’re not scheduling yourself to do something socially, what are you doing? Are your days then filled with household chores, family duties and work or do you give yourself the space to land and be alone?

Embracing down time between tasks, even if these tasks are extra-curriculars you enjoy doing, is important. Not only does down time allow you to be alone, it allows you to rest in the quiet. This means staying off your phone, watching streaming services and playing video games. By going quiet, you can stop distracting your mind and begin paying attention to how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and becoming more self-aware.

Regardless of how you identify, check out our “Men’s Health: Beyond Building Bigger Muscles” article for inspiration on creating more self-compassion during down time.

1 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Tips for choosing the best sunglasses. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/sunglasses-3. Accessed 5/25/2023.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol use and your health. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm. Accessed 5/30/2023.

Published 6/19/2023