In the warmer, longer, lazier days of summer, the living may not be easy, but your life probably feels less chaotic. Even adults tend to adopt a "school's out!" attitude in summer. That's why this is a perfect time to improve your health in a fashion so seasonally laid back you'll barely notice the effort.
If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup of mixed fresh berries -- blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries -- every day. They'll help you load up on antioxidants, which may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses. Blueberries and blackberries are especially antioxidant-rich.
A big bonus: Berries are also tops in fiber, which helps keep cholesterol low and may even help prevent some cancers.
To improve your stress level, plant a small garden, cultivate a flower box, or if space is really limited, plant a few flower pots -- indoors or out.
Just putting your hands in soil is "grounding." And when life feels like you're moving so fast your feet are barely touching the stuff, being mentally grounded can help relieve physical and mental stress.
You know you need to, now it's time to start: floss every single day. Do it at the beach (in a secluded spot), while reading on your patio, or when watching TV -- and the task will breeze by.
Flossing reduces oral bacteria, which improves overall body health, and if oral bacteria is low, your body has more resources to fight bacteria elsewhere. Floss daily and you're doing better than at least 85% of people.
Pick one outdoor activity -- going on a hike, taking a nature walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading, or swimming -- to shed that cooped-up feeling of gym workouts.
And remember, the family that plays together not only gets fit together -- it's also a great way to create bonding time.
5. Be Good to Your Eyes
To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataractscataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes.
And when playing sports or doing tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear protective eyewear. Ask your eye doctor about the best type; some are sport-specific.
6. Vacation Time!
Improve your heart health: take advantage of summer's slower schedule by using your vacation time to unwind.
to a widening waist and an increased risk of heart diseaseheart disease.
7. Alcohol: Go Lite
A sangria (table wine diluted with juice), a cold beer, or a wine spritzer are all refreshing but light. In moderation -- defined as one to two drinks daily -- alcohol can protect against heart disease.
8. Sleep Well
Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days. Instead pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule and not drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime.
It's also a good idea to avoid naps during the day unless you take them every day at the same time, for the same amount of time.
There they are: Eight super simple ways to boost your health this summer. Try one or try them all. They're so easy you won't even know they're -- shhhh -- good for you.
All Toes on Deck: Tips for Protecting Feet from the Heat
One perk of a beach-bound vacation is knowing that instead of snow soaking through your Choose or having your feet feeling toasty in sweaty Uggs, you can lounge happily with your toes dangling in the warm weather, shoe-free with the sand at your feet. But alas, the dream does come with its own set of tootsie troubles. "Even if you are just lying still on your back soaking up the rays, your feet are still vulnerable," says American Podiatric Medical Association member Jane Andersen, DPM. "You can seriously sunburn your feet and no matter how upscale your hotel, athlete's foot can lurk in all public pool areas."
Wouldn't you rather spend time collecting sea shells than doctor's bills? No worries. There are ways to prevent these future foot predicaments so you can go back to your sun-kissed dreams and enjoy a liberated foot experience.
1. Limit walking barefoot as it exposes feet to sunburn, as well as plantar warts, athlete's foot, ringworm, and other infections and also increases risk of injury to your feet.
2. Wear shoes or flip-flops around the pool, to the beach, in the locker room and even on the carpeting or in the bathroom of your hotel room to prevent injuries and limit the likelihood of contracting any bacterial infections.
3. Remember to apply sunscreen all over your feet, especially the tops and fronts of ankles, and don't forget to reapply after you've been in the water.
4. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water will not only help with overall health, but will also minimize any foot swelling caused by the heat.
5. Keep blood flowing with periodic ankle flexes, toe wiggles, and calf stretches.
6. Some activities at the beach, lake, or river may require different types of footwear to be worn, so be sure to ask the contact at each activity if specific shoes are needed. To be safe, always pack an extra pair of sneakers or protective water shoes. If your shoes will be getting wet, they should be dried out completely before your next wearing to prevent bacteria or fungus from growing.
7. If you injure your foot or ankle while on vacation, seek professional medical attention.
8. In case of minor foot problems, be prepared with the following on-the-go foot gear:
Flip flops—for the pool, spa, hotel room, and airport security check points
Sterile bandages—for covering minor cuts and scrapes
Antibiotic cream—to treat any skin injury
Emollient-enriched cream—to hydrate feet
Blister pads or moleskin—to protect against blisters
Anti-inflammatory cream—to ease tired, swollen feet
Toenail clippers—to keep toenails trimmed
Emery board—to smooth rough edges or broken nails
Pumice stone—to soften callused skin
Sunscreen—to protect against the scorching sun
Aloe vera or Silbecor cream—to relieve sunburns
Avoiding insect bites
Use insect repellents
Drain standing water around the home
Want to hinder mosquitoes from breeding in your backyard? Since mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, drain any water around your property. Any kind of container can breed mosquitoes.” So empty bird baths, buckets, flowerpots and the likes or move it away from doors and windows.
Avoid outside activity during peak mosquito hours
Mosquitoes are active from dusk to dawn, but especially in the early morning and evening. Take extra care with repellent or clothing at this time.
If you are going to exercise outside, beware
Heading to a picnic? You might want to stick to hanging out on the blanket. Since mosquitoes are extracted to extra body heat and carbon dioxide, the more you jump around the volleyball net, the more they will be inclined to bite you.
Check your screens
Reinforce your window screens while checking for any holes or tears the little bugs can get through. Do this for both your windows and your doors.
Cover up with clothing