The glorious days of summer are here, with blue skies, sunshine, and puffy clouds. When you’re spending the day outside, you want to have a wonderful day—which means you need to be prepared and ready to prevent problems such as sunburn and dehydration.
- SPF: The last thing you want to deal with is a painful sunburn and its correlation to an increased chance of developing skin cancer. No matter what your skin type or how cloudy the sky, you should wear sunscreen when you’re outdoors. Look for a water resistant, broad spectrum SPF of at least 15 that filters out both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure that you’re using an adequate amount on your skin—you should use a full ounce (the amount in a shot glass) to cover your body, and be sure to rub it in well. You should apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply it every two hours—sooner if you’re swimming or sweating. You may want to avoid being outside in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. It’s a good idea to wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes. Remember that old sunscreen can lose its effectiveness. Toss out any sunscreen that’s past its expiration date or is more than three years old.
- Fluids: When you’re playing outside, you need to replace the water you’re losing while you sweat. Make sure you drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily plus an extra glass for each 20 minutes you exercise.
- Hydrating Foods: Snacking on fruits and vegetables will help your body stay hydrated because they contain plentiful amounts of water. Watermelon, berries, apples, kiwi, cantaloupe, and grapes are great choices. Hydrating veggies include mixed greens, bok choy, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers. If you’re tired of water, you can drink fruit juice or sports drinks, but they are higher in calories. Iced tea can be a good option.
- What to Avoid: If you’re drinking alcohol, it’s a good move to drink a glass of water for each adult beverage you have. Alcohol is dehydrating, so you may want to limit your intake and enjoy some alcohol-free beverages after you’ve reached your limit. Caffeinated drinks may also have a dehydrating effect.
The next day you’re on the lake or cheering on your favorite soccer player, keep the tips above in mind to make your day—and the one after it—more enjoyable for all.