Great Ways to Make
Summer Fun and Healthy
Everybody loves summer—long, lazy days that are perfect for getting outside, enjoying summertime activities, and indulging in favorite summertime treats.
Summer is a time for holidays and relaxing, but an important part of the fun is taking steps to stay healthy and active so that everyone can enjoy many more summers in the years to come!
Read on to learn some great ways to make summer fun and healthy and find just a few of Health Edco’s health education materials and models that are ideal to promote healthy habits all year round.
Eat Healthy Summer Meals
Hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, milkshakes, ice cream: If these are your idea of summertime foods, you’re not alone! It’s OK to indulge in the occasional treat every once in a while, but foods that are high in saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and excess calories should not be a regular part of anyone’s diet.
colorful fruit models with nutrition information cards.
Besides, summer is a great time to enjoy a variety of colorful seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. From blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, to cherries, peaches, plums, grapes, cantaloupes, mangos, grapes, and more, the fresh taste of summer awaits! Low in fat, sodium, and calories, fruits are the perfect sweet treats. They also contain important nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. And, don’t forget delicious summer vegetables, such as summer squashes, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and okra. Vegetables are an important source of essential vitamins and minerals and may help decrease the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Make regular trips to the farmers market a fun family outing to pack up on your favorite fresh summertime produce!
Summer is also the perfect time to cook outside on the grill. Keep meals healthy by grilling lean or low-fat proteins, such as skinless chicken breasts, 93-percent lean ground beef, ground turkey, and seafood. Also, enjoy grilled vegetables and fresh salads. Healthy summer meals can be nutritious and delicious!
to display the basics of good nutrition.
Be Physically Active Outdoors
With beautiful summer weather, it’s the perfect time to be physically active outdoors. Everyone benefits from being physically active: Physical activity can help you manage your weight, increase muscle and bone health, reduce depression, improve brain health, decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and lower the risk of certain diseases and conditions, including heart disease and some forms of cancer.
the importance of physical activity.
Being physically active outdoors instead of indoors can have added benefits. Research suggests that exercising outside instead of inside can help you work out longer by offering you distractions to keep your mind off the physical exertion. Exercising in natural surroundings can enhance your self-esteem, increase your sense of well-being, and reduce stress. Plus, you’ll save money on gym fees! So lace your shoes and go for a stroll, walk your dog, ride your bike, or go for a swim. Remember to take appropriate precautions, such as wearing a bike helmet, practicing water safety, and drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If You Choose to Drink, Limit Your Alcohol
Many people associate fun times outdoors with alcohol. It is recommended that adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink should drink in moderation. Moderate drinking means limiting alcohol to two or fewer standard drinks per day for men and one or fewer drinks per day for women. A standard drink equals 12 ounces of beer with 5 percent alcohol by volume, 5 ounces of wine with 12 percent alcohol by volume, and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits, such as vodka, rum, or whiskey. Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant, people under age 21, those with certain medical conditions, and those with an alcohol use disorder should avoid alcohol.
to provide examples of a standard drink.
Limiting alcohol—no matter what time of year it is—can help you live a longer and healthier life. Alcohol use can increase the risk of violence, motor vehicle crashes, and unintentional injuries, as well as high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer. Among teens and adults, alcohol may be associated with up to 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation, including drowning.
Practice Sun Safety
While you’re enjoying the beautiful summer days, make sure to protect yourself from the sunny rays. Overexposure to the sun can result in negative health consequences, ranging from painful, blistering sunburns to premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. Even tanning is a sign of skin damage, so it’s important to play it safe in the sun!
explains how to stay safe from the sun.
Ways to help protect yourself in the sun include:
- Avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more.
- Wear sunglasses with wraparound lenses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear protective clothing, including hats with a wide brim all the way around, shirts with long sleeves and collars, and long pants. Dark and tightly woven fabrics offer the most protection.
Find More Great Health Education Resources
Healthy habits are important no matter the season! Find more great health education materials and models covering nutrition, physical activity, alcohol, and sun safety as well as other essential health topics by visiting our health education product subjects.
The information contained in this article is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please contact your healthcare professional.
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