Memorial Day weekend is upon us; the unofficial kick off to summer. Resort towns come to life, shorts and summer whites come out, and vegetation grows bountiful.
Summer celebrators often forget the holiday wasn’t invented to allow for a day off to commemorate the arrival of the nice weather, but instead in honor of men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military. I salute them this week and encourage you to do the same!
In Montauk where we’ll be, there is an annual parade, ceremony in the center of town and flags line the main street. It’s a beautiful tribute.
In addition to saluting those lost, it’s a great opportunity to consider one’s own mortality and health. Are those summer outfits a bit snug, hydration level underwhelming, or too much time spent sitting on the couch? We can fix that!
Below are some of my favorite summer health tips, including suggestions submitted from proactive clients:
Wear eye protection – Sure those fabulous Jackie-O glasses look glam, but are the lenses UV protected? Too much exposure to UV light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye, and cancer. Although polarized lenses reduce glare, they do not take the place of UV protection. Choose glasses with the right fit, and wear UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats whenever you're outside. This will also prevent unwanted lines and wrinkles!
Hydrate – I know you’re sick of me touting the benefits of drinking water, but I promise doing so will give a glow to your skin, improve digestion and regularity, and keep you from feeling lethargic (especially when exposed to heat and sun). If super thirsty, pee dark yellow, lips and skin cracked and/or you aren’t sweating, dehydrated is likely the cause. Drink half your body weight in ounces, and more if you’re exercising or out in extreme heat. To make it more exciting one of my client’s suggests, “water infused with the fresh fruits of summer.”
Be aware of salt intake – Not enough salt can cause life-threatening issues. Without adequate salt intake the body cannot properly retain water, causing muscle cramps, fatigue and (in extreme cases) death. Alternatively, as one client said, you can swell so much “you will feel like a sausage.” Notice sodium’s impact on your body and adjust accordingly. Limit intake to 2,300 mg per day, unless advised by a doctor, coach or know you need more.
Limit day drinking – Any alcohol intake can result in dehydration. Doing so in the beating sun increases its effect. Ever had a glass of wine while out in the sun and immediately feel light headed? Alcohol is a diuretic--meaning that it promotes dehydration--and interferes with your body's ability to regulate its own temperature. "Alcohol also dilates your blood vessels, as does warm weather, and therefore makes you more susceptible to passing out." Drinking too much at any time can cause a lack of motor coordination and lower inhibitions, potentially causing accidents on the water or land. Enjoy a glass or two at that bbq, but NEVER drink and drive and always listen to your friends if they encourage you to cool it. They know and love you, and look out for your best interests.
Protect and nourish your skin – Looking like a lobster may be appealing to some, but your skin HATES it. Sunburn stings, results in unappealing skin spots, peels, gets dry and could increase your chances of melanoma. Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 to block UVB radiation, which plays a major role in skin cancer. SPF refers mainly to the amount of UVB protection a sunscreen offers and an SPF 30 sunscreen blocks nearly 97 percent of UVB. In addition wear a hat, which will not only block dangerous sunrays, but also keep you cooler. The skin is the largest organ in the body! Moisturize lips and skin every day, to keep them supple and happy. All of this will reduce signs of aging – which those age 20ish will greatly appreciate when hitting age 30ish and beyond.
Eat locally and seasonally – Yum, the bounty of local and abundant outlets with fruits and vegetables! While in the market notice which shelves are overflowing with produce – those are likely the items in season. In my area asparagus, spinach and broccoli are everywhere. From now through the fall is a beautiful time to try new foods, even ugly foods (foods that many markets won’t sell because they aren’t perfectly symmetrical. They actually toss them, resulting in enormous food waste). Grow some of your own, including herbs you can use for tea, cooking or salads.
Focus on foot health – Ouch, those flip-flops hurt the first few times, don’t they? They do nothing for foot support either! In addition, the transition from boots to lighter shoes may cause cramping. Toe and foot stretches, arch massage and/or calve stretches offer much relief. Go for a pedicure to peel off those winter layers, feel massaged and make your feet look attractive.
Have fun! – Nice weather means great opportunities to get outside, get moving and get pumped. Walk, run, bike, dance, garden, play, walk your dog, mediate, even take a boat ride (if in Montauk consider the fabulous Viking Fleet!). Even just a walk around the neighborhood a few nights a week will do wonders for your psyche, muscle tone and waistline.
This weekend and throughout the summer, throw on a hat and sunglasses, lather on some sunscreen, bring along a bottle of water and go. What a wonderful salute to your health.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™