All families do summer differently: for some, it’s a kid-centered time filled with camp and trips to the pool and sleep overs. For others, it’s a time to for visits from extended family members, or for grandmas and grandpas to see their grandchildren. For some folks, summer is simply a great excuse to enjoy a cold beer on a Friday night while they watch a baseball game.
Everyone does it differently. But everyone has the same health needs over the hot summer months.
1) Drink lots of water
Oregon may be rainy for what residents claim to be 11.5 months out of the year, but when summer does eventually come it gets hot, even up into the 100s — and every year, we reach a new record. Whether or not you like this new balmy climate, it is critical that you and your family all drink plenty of water, particularly if you are active outside.
Heat stroke can happen quickly, and it is almost always precipitated by dehydration. Children and seniors are especially vulnerable to dehydration. Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty, be sure you’re drinking a glass of water each hour. And if you are a caregiver of elderly or young family members, keep a closer watch on their water intake, and remember– juice or soda does not count as water!
2) Get outside
The rain’s gone– there’s no excuse not to be outside anymore! Beautiful sunny weather is the perfect opportunity to lose some winter pounds, increase joint mobility and circulation, and boost your wellbeing with some great exercise. Again and again studies show that exercise improves almost every aspect of your health, and there’s no better place to do it than the Portland Metro area!
Go for a hike in Forest Park. Ride your bike to work. Take your kids camping. Join a softball league. The opportunities for healthy, outdoor recreation are almost endless.
Just a word of caution: if you have not been physically active in a long time, it is highly recommended that you be seen by your Hillsboro family doctor prior to running that marathon or meeting your other ambitious exercise goals. Together we can talk about the best exercise plan for your unique health, and ensure that there are no health conditions that could put you at risk.
3) Eat fresh food
In this day and age we’re all used to eating what we want, when we want it because grocery stores supply fruits and vegetables regardless of whether or not they’re in season. But you can’t beet (ha! see what we did there?) fresh seasonal food– and it’s really good for you.
This summer, visit your local farmers market and try a new vegetable or fruit that grew in the same Oregon county that you live in. You don’t just support your local economy when you buy farm fresh foods, you’re becoming engaged with the food that you put in your body. You become curious about how to cook the new vegetable you just selected. And chances are– you’re also eating home-cooked meals, which are far better for your health than prepared foods or restaurant meals.
Yes, our summer health tips do require a bit of stepping out of your comfort zone but as it turns out, learning is good for your health too! Studies have shown that adults who learn new information are less likely to experience dementia as they age.
What does your family like to do over the summer? Do you have exciting plans? Tell us all about it at your next appointment with your Hillsboro family doctor.