Summer can be a double-edged sword for your health. While spending more time outdoors has physical and mental benefits, the heat and humidity can pose some tricky health risks. Fruits and veggies are deliciously fresh and more readily available, but so are the tempting treats in the ice cream truck trolling by every lunch hour. Being smart about summer doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your carefree buzz. Keep these simple tricks up your sleeve to stay safe and maximize the season’s health benefits.
DO be choosy about how you cool off.
It’s tempting to hit up the air-conditioned DQ on your sweltering commute home, but substituting the treat and place will pay off big time (and crashing halfway through a fudge crumble ice cream cake is just embarrassing for everyone involved). Get to know your friendly neighbourhood pool owner, or scope out gyms and rec centres with swimming. Cardio that cools you off? Two birds, one stone. And check out our guide to healthy dessert alternatives to help you stare down the Ben & Jerry’s.
DO disinfect everyday flats and sandals.
Give your go-to kicks a once-over with an antibacterial wipe and you’ll never have to blame that stanky feet smell on your boyfriend again. Sweaty feet confined to the same shoes day after day can be a breeding ground for nasty bacteria, putting you at risk for infections like athlete’s foot, not to mention reeky odour. Cut them off at the pass by disinfecting regularly and going a day between wears when possible.
DO double-duty your fruits and veggies.
Stocking up on all of the prime fruit and veg in season for meals seems like a no-brainer. But setting aside the last few slices of tomato can also help keep your face from looking like one. Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin A, which is the basis of a group of prescription acne fighters called topical retinoids. Mash the tomato pulp into a face mask or rub a slice right where it’s needed.
Tomatoes can also be switched or combined with avocadoes. The guacamole-salsa hybrid of deliciousness you can make with the leftovers is just an added bonus.
DON’T rely on products with built-in SPF for your sun protection.
Of course, any SPF is better than none at all, so don’t ditch your moisturizer just yet. But typically we don’t apply enough of the product for the full SPF protection to be effective. Look for a non-comedogenic sunscreen (it won’t clog your pores) with a high SPF. We tried (and loved) Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water-Light Sunblock SPF45: read our review. Don’t forget to reapply, because age spots won’t forget your face!
DON’T use happy hour as free reign for cheap booze.
This should be true year-round, but tantalizingly fruity mixed drinks seem to go hand-in-hand with relaxing on a sunny patio. Binging on any alcohol has its consequences, but mixed drinks add liquid calories to the list “ many of them are chock-full of sugar. Drinks with light mixers like club soda and cranberry or lemon juice are great alternatives if you’re not into beer or wine. Set smart limits for yourself and stick to them, because only you and your liver will be paying for those margaritas tomorrow morning.