Summer means afternoons at the pool, family barbeques, outdoor sports and so much more. Here are seven tips to keep your family healthy in the warmer months:
- Heat safety 101: Avoid intense outdoor activities in the early afternoon, between noon and 3 p.m. when the sun is strongest. "Remember that certain heart medications like beta blockers, ace receptor blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers and diuretics (which deplete the body of sodium) can exaggerate the body’s response to heat," said Atul Chugh, MD, a cardiologist with Franciscan Physician Network Indiana Heart Physicians in Indianapolis and Crawfordsville. "Be sure to continue taking your medications and at the correct times. If you are just starting an exercise routine, be sure to check with your doctor first."
- Drink up! Even if you don’t feel thirsty, drink plenty of water before, during and after physical activity outside. This will help prevent dehydration. To add some low-calorie flavor to your water, add a slice of melon, berries or even cucumber to a pitcher of water and refrigerate for two hours. Avoid caffeine and alcohol,
- Take breaks. If you are exercising outside, find some shade or a cool place, stop for a few minutes, hydrate and start again.
- Head indoors: If the heat gets unbearable, try indoor activities at the local gym or rec center like basketball, swimming, yoga or racquetball.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Wear wide-brimmed hats and water-resistant sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and ideally more than SPF 60. Reapply the sunscreen every couple hours.
- Dress light: Wear lightweight, light colored clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Pull out the grill: Everything tastes better on the grill, and grilling can be one of the healthiest ways to cook. Choose fish, skinless chicken breasts and lean ground poultry for some protein-packed alternatives to hot dogs and hamburgers. Add a marinade or rubbing spice along with some fresh vegetables on a kabob or in a grill basket. Try grilling fruit, such as peaches, plums, pineapples or half a banana. The natural sugars caramelize in the high heat, giving them extra sweetness and flavor.