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Monday, July 18, 2011

Healthy Summer Tips


Summer with its hot temperatures and high humidity is in full swing. Playing in the sun, soaking up that natural Vitamin D is what summer is all about, but remember, too much of a good thing isn’t always good.
Before you hit the beach, relax by the pool or engage in a water gun fight in your backyard, keep in mind that ultraviolet rays from the sun can do a number on your skin; in fact, they are the most common cause of premature aging. Here are some simple ways you can protect yourself, your loved ones and still have fun in the sun.
Reduce Sun Exposure During Peak Hours
UV rays are the strongest and do the most damage between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so the less time you spend outdoors during these hours, the better. That doesn't mean you have to miss out on all the fun though. Just hit the pool or the beach later in the day when the sun is lower. You will still have plenty of time for fun and you won’t melt as quickly or risk sunburn as easily.  And don't be fooled on an overcast day—you can still get burned because up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can penetrate through the clouds. Shade is good when you can find it.  
Cover Up
Be fashionably smart. Wear protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible. Remember to cover your hair and head with a wide-brimmed hat. You might even consider carrying an umbrella for shade.  The more protection you have the better off your skin will be.

Protect Your Eyes
Always wear sunglasses. They also deflect harmful UV rays that reflect off of water, sand, and other surfaces. This helps reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. What’s great is you can splurge for a really nice pair or go cheap and get some at the drug store for under $10. Studies have shown that cheap sunglasses that are rated to protect against UV rays are just as good as the more expensive ones – And you won’t be as upset when you sit on them in the car!
Apply Sunscreen Generously
Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen evenly on all areas of the skin—and don't forget your lips, nose, ears, neck, hands, and tops of feet. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and remember to re-apply every two hours, especially after swimming. If you are not sure how much to apply, it’s better to use too much than not enough. A shot glass full is approximately enough to use on an entire body. It’s easier to apply the sunscreen before you get dressed, too. This way you will be sure not to miss any areas like under sleeves or under collars.
Keep Hydrated
Dehydration can occur very quickly when we perspire and babies and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Water is the best way to re-hydrate and the optimal amount to drink is ½ oz for every pound of body weight. If you think you will be floating after drinking that much in a day, keep in mind your body cannot function properly without an adequate amount of water and most people don’t consume near enough.
The benefits of staying hydrated are:
·         Weight loss – the more you drink the less you will weigh. It helps our stomachs feel fuller longer and often times when we think we’re hungry we are really just a little dehydrated. So the next time you feel the urge to snack, try drinking a big glass of water and waiting 15 minutes – you may find the urge to snack will pass.
·         You look younger – the more hydrated you are the more youthful your skin looks. Fine lines, blemishes and dark circles are less noticeable and since your skin is the biggest organ your body has, when it has proper hydration it’s happier. In turn it makes you look more radiant and healthier.
·         You have more energy – when you feel yourself lagging especially in the afternoon, remember to re-hydrate with some water or a good sports drink that isn’t loaded with sugar. You will find your energy level pick up and you will feel more alert.
Becoming dehydrated can happen very quickly and severe dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and deadly heat stroke. Here are some of the warning signs of dehydration:
·         Headache
·         Backache
·         A dry mouth and sticky saliva.
·         Reduced urine output with dark yellow urine or cloudy urine.
·         Acting listless or easily irritated.
If someone is listless, vomiting, showing signs of confusion or feels sick seek immediate medical attention as these are signs of heat stroke.
Very few people realize that the early symptoms of dehydration are headaches and backaches as well as muscle cramping. If you feel one of these symptoms coming on, try drinking a good amount of water or a good sports drink. You may be surprised to find the symptoms go away!
Also, reduce alcohol intake. A cold beer may sound refreshing to some after getting really hot, but in reality alcohol can cause dehydration making you feel worse.
Encourage children to play outside in the morning and evening hours and try to help them find indoor activities to do during the hot afternoon hours. Heading to museums, indoor parks and other indoor attractions are great to do to help entertain lively youngsters. And never, never leave a child in a car. The temperature rises quickly and death can occur in a matter of minutes.
Drownings occur every year and they can happen in a blink of an eye. Never leave a child unattended around a pool and restrict access to pools with fencing and put up the ladders when not in use. Babies and toddlers are most at risk because most do not know how to swim or float and can drown in as little as an inch of water.
Check in on family and neighbors
When it gets hot, it’s a good time to check in with elderly family members and neighbors to make sure they are staying cool enough and staying hydrated. Don’t assume that everyone has air conditioning or can afford to run it even if they do have it. Many may be trying to avoid high electric bills and aren’t staying cool.
You can bring them a cool dessert like some jello with fruit or a nice pasta salad as an excuse to stop by. If they appear not to be taking the proper precautions to stay cool, then invite them to your house for a barbecue (ate indoors) and help them get help in staying cool. It may be as simple as pooling money from other family members to help pay their electric bill, buy them a cheap window air conditioning unit and install it for them, or call a son or daughter of your elderly neighbor to inform them of the hot house their parents are living in.
Don’t forget your furry friends
Our pets are very susceptible to the summer heat and humidity and dehydration can happen very quickly. Always provide fresh, clean water, constant shade or bring them in during the hot parts of the days.
Notice any signs of listlessness, weakness or vomiting as these are signs of heat stroke and require immediate veterinarian attention.
Your animal’s appetite may decrease during the hot summer months. That’s OK as long as they are eating something each day. They aren’t doing as much and therefore their bodies don’t require as much food.
Don’t be so quick to shave your pet’s coat thinking it will keep him cooler. In reality, fur is a great insulator to both cold and heat. Plus, you may cause your pet to get sunburned more easily since his skin is not equipped to being exposed. Check with a qualified breeder or your veterinarian before shipping him off to the groomers for a shave.

So get outside this summer and enjoy Nature. A cool walk in the woods, a lazy day poolside or at the beach or a fun summer barbecue in the backyard is a great way to enjoy life and recharge the old batteries.
Have a safe and happy summer!

*For more information on health and wellness as well as our full line of Sports Nutrition products including Performance – a great hydration sports drink check out our website To Be Healthy – Sports Nutrition.
 

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