We seem to be forever trying to get ourselves in good shape for summer, hoping those unsightly bulges disappear by the time we’re (unofficially) mandated to don swimwear. But the health and fitness regime often goes out the window when summer actually arrives, with most of us trying to fill every hour of sun with enjoyment and relaxation.
Unfortunately, the effects of this can be significant – leading to short term and long term health problems. So, here FabOverFifty offers a handful of tips to help you stay healthy and fresh through the summer ( we promise none of these take place in the gym).
Get Eight Hours of Sleep
We all know that when the temperature rises , it can be incredibly difficult to get to sleep. It’s also tempting to stay up later with the windows open and a glass of wine in hand, and you may find that your much-needed eight hours’ kip is compromised.
Maintaining a healthy amount of sleep can help curb the risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Halle Berry (amazingly 50 later this year) claims that her youthful glow is largely owed to her nightly eight hours of sleep, earning her place on this ‘icons who love sleep’ list.
So it’s vital that you allow yourself a little extra time to get comfortable, and settle down to a health-giving night’s sleep.
Perhaps the greatest temptation during the summer months is to try and make the most of sun by seeking out its rays at every opportunity with reckless abandon. However, we all know that this can lead to significant skin and health problems from dehydration and sunburn to, in extreme cases, melanoma.
Simply slapping on a low SPF sunscreen (to maximise the chance of a healthy tan) before basking in the sun all day can be incredibly dangerous. A suitable SPF sunscreen should be applied to the body 30 minutes before sun exposure, and should be reapplied every two hours.
Furthermore, the lotion should be reapplied after swimming, towelling off or excessive sweating.
Sunscreen is not the only vital form of protection against the sun; lip balms, hats and popped collars are all helpful guards against the ill effects of the sun. This guide from cruise holiday specialists, Cruise 1st UK, offers a handful of helpful skincare tips on your holidays or during a sunny spell at home.
Ice-cold sangria may be thirst quenching, refreshing and incredibly delicious; hydrating, it’s not. Unfortunately, it only will serve to dehydrate the body – making it increasingly important to maintain a healthy balance with hydrating drinks and food.
During summer months, it is important to pre-empt dehydration – by the time you feel thirsty, you might already be dehydrated.
Dr. Pamila Brar discusses how much water we should be drinking every day in this article from Lifehacker. She suggests 13 cups of total fluids a day for men, and 9 cups for women – although this should be increased if you spend time in hot and dry weather.
We’d recommend trying to drink at least 12 cups of fluids during a summer’s day – almost one every hour when you’re awake (assuming you’re following our summer sleep suggestion).
And, a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can complement hydration.
Prioritised Eye Care
Sun exposure is not at all kind to eyes and eyelids, causing short term and long term issues. This makes wearing protective eyewear incredibly important — sunglasses are not just for preventing glare and hiding the evidence of a few too many vinos from the night before.
Fortunately, large frame sunglasses are all the rage at the moment. As well as looking fab, these offer the most comprehensive protection for your eyes and eyelids. Investing in a robust pair of large frame sunglasses which are labelled UV 400, is a good start, as these will block all UVA and UVB rays.
A pair of sunglasses which tie around the back of your head can be incredibly helpful, making it easier to wear them at all times – even when going for a quick dip in a swimming pool, or a sun-soaked cycle ride.
Hay Fever Prevention
There are few things more irritating that the onset of hay fever when the pollen count is high. It can seem like an unavoidable by-product of the sunnier weather and blooming plant life, but there are a few tips to help you avoid sore eyes and the annoying need to sneeze. And with one-in-four people suffering from hay fever, chances are these tips will help at least one person in your household.
Just a little dab of Vaseline under your nose can help prevent pollen from sticking to the lining of your nose (the cause of so many sneezing episodes). Alternatively, a quick squirt of a drug-free nasal spray can achieve the same result.
Pollen counts are traditionally at their peak during 8am to 10am and from 5pm to 7pm, when the air is warming up and cooling off respectively. Where possible, try to avoid going outside at these times. Also, open your windows at other times to let cool breezes into your home, but not the sneeze-inducing pollen.
Dusting and vacuuming your home regularly can also remove any pollen which is sitting dormant, waiting for a moment to strike. When dusting, make sure you use a damp cloth to pick up any pollen rather than sparking it into action.
Recognise Hazardous Insects and Plants
It’s not just the human population of the UK which embraces the summer months;insects and plants turn out in droves when the sun is shining. Whilst most of these living creatures are completely harmless, there are a few hazardous examples (beyond the obvious wasps and nettles) which need our attention.
The NHS features a list of the insects and plants to watch out for and explains the tell-tale signs of these summer predators, and what you should do if you are afflicted.
Embrace the Serotonin
Finally, we know how important happiness is to health – and the summer months naturally make us all happier. Sunlight boosts your body’s levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, helping you have a happy and healthy season in the sun.