Summer is officially here! Here are our Top 10 tops for a healthy summer + one bonus tip which applies all year round!
1. We are blessed in Australia with a huge variety of beautiful fruits and veges, and in summer the bounty becomes even more accessible. Blending fruits and veges (rather than juicing) can give you a great hit of fibre for digestive health. But not much beats eating a fresh peach or a bowl of beautiful berries for mind and body health!
2. Slip slop slap of course! Summer sun can equal winter melanoma if you dont properly protect yourself. Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the word: not a statistic we should be proud of. Make sure to wear appropriate protective clothing, reapply sunscreen regularly and stay in the shade as much as possible during the hottest part of the day. Its a good idea to get an annual skin check with your GP who can monitor any freckles or sun spots you may have.
3. Hit the road! Summer can be a great time to be spontaneous, taking a road trip or a just a day out to enjoy the beautiful weather. Whether it be a walk in Healesville, climbing the 1000 steps in the Dandenongs, a day out at Wilsons Prom or hanging at the beach on the Mornington Pensinsula, Victoria has some fantastic day trips within manageable driving distance. Better still, just hop in the car and see where the road takes you! If routine and structure is a source of stress for you, spontaneity can be the ultimate stress buster! Drive safe!
4. One of the key components of a happy life is devoting time to friends and family, and nothing beats spending time with your loved ones in the sun. Of course, xmas festivities can also be a source of sadness for those who have lost loved ones so its important to keep in touch with these emotions and if you are feeling low at this time of year seek out a friend or your doctor for a chat.
5. It can be hard to keep up an exercise routine in the heat, so summer is the time to think outside the square and try new activities. Swimming is the obvious summer activity, but there are also lots of other indoor activities that can keep the heart rate up – or be a kid and try one of the new indoor trampolining centres! If you do exercise outdoors, try and do so in the early hours of the morning when its cooler, keep to shaded areas where possible, stay hydrated and wear a hat and sunscreen.
6. Sleep! Whilst the days are long its easy to fall into a pattern of going to bed too late. Studies show a clear link between poor sleep and high stress, so now’s not the time to skip those precious zzzs.
7. Aussies are travelers and many people travel over the long school holiday break. Make sure you speak to your doctor well in advance of any travel (including domestic travel) to discuss any vaccination needs or if you require scripts for your regular medications to take with you. When you travel overseas with medications its always a good idea to take a note from your doctor in case the medications are prohibited in the country you are travelling to.
8. Lazy days are just part of the summer vibe, but make sure lazy afternoons dont end in take out dinners laden with fat and sugar. That pad thai you think is a fresh and healthy option could actually have almost two thirds of your daily calories in it! Swap take out for healthy and fresh made salads. Making a big bowl of salad at the start of the week that you just add a different protein to (think, tuna, chicken, cheese, leftover bbq meat) every night can make healthy evening meals much more achievable.
9. If you have time off work it can be a great time to do a health check with your doctor. Have a chat about any concerns you may have, any short to medium term goals you have for your health and any opportunities there might be to easily improve your health for 2016 and beyond. Use the summer to get those pesky tests done that you are always too busy for but which you know are important.
10. When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling or just sitting in the sun. How much water you need to stay hydrated varies for each person, but thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink. Remember that rehydrating regularly through the day with water – rather than soft drinks or juice – is the most effective way to fuel your body.
11. This is the bonus year round health tip which all doctors should prescribe. Be grateful. People who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits including stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure, higher levels of positive emotions, more joy, optimism, and happiness, acting with more generosity and compassion and feeling less lonely and isolated. Use the time on the beach or in the sun – or in winter, over a cup of hot chocolate – to think about what and who you are grateful for. It costs nothing, takes barely any time and could just be the best “medicine” of all.
Stay healthy and safe this summer! From the team at the Mt Waverley Clinic