Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… 🎶☀️🌴
Summer’s longer days, brighter sunshine and warmer temps tend to help us enjoy improved mood, better diet and stronger fitness habits. (More on why that is below!)
But, there are also a few summer-specific wellness tips and lifestyle habits to keep in mind for healthy (warmer and sunnier!) summertime living.
Here are some simple summer wellness tips for healthy living:
1. Get your vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed to support properly bodily functioning—everything from immunity to mood to defending cells against cancer! Though most of the nutrients our body needs are available via the food we eat, vitamin D is actually primarily obtained via sun exposure.
Unfortunately, for various reasons (including indoor lifestyles and the invention of sunscreen), vitamin D is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in modern society. Here’s more about the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and how lack of sun exposure can also lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder in wintery months.
Especially in higher latitude climates that have less sun exposure in the winter, summertime sun exposure is an important way to “store” vitamin D for the less sunny wintery months. (Fortunately, the body can store vitamin D for months, so sufficient sun exposure during the summer can help get us through less sun exposure in the winter.)
So, the first summer wellness tip is to get outside and get your vitamin D!
But, that said, proper sun care is also an important part of enjoying the sun healthfully! There are a few additional steps to healthy sun exposure:
2. Eat your sunscreen
No, not the lotion in a tube! But real food is actually some of the best sunscreen around.
That’s because sunburn is a type of inflammation, and diet has a tremendous impact on inflammation in the body. Your diet can increase or decrease your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, as well as its ability to repair itself when it does get damaged.
To reduce your sun-sensitivity and risk of sun damage, make sure you’re eating enough anti-inflammatory foods like:
Healthy fats rich in Omega-3s: Omega-3s help to reduce inflammation in your body and promote healing. Good sources include fish (like sardines and salmon), eggs, flaxseed and walnuts. Omega-3s are also available in supplement form via fish oil and flaxseed oil (vegan).
Other healthy saturated fats: Choose healthy saturated fats like coconut oil, avocado oil and organic grass-fed butter. Saturated fats are the building blocks of healthy skin (and hair and nails).
Veggies: The vitamins and antioxidants in veggies help to protect cells from the effects of UV radiation. Leafy greens and tomatoes are particularly good.
Other antioxidant-rich foods: Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and free radicals in your cells, as well as protect against sunburn and skin damage. In addition to veggies, berries, beans, nuts and green or black tea have high antioxidant properties.
Though the first step of good sun protection is keeping your skin healthy from the inside out, it’s also important to protect your skin with the proper amount of exposure and coverage.
3. Protect your skin with natural sun care
One of the best, most natural methods of sun care is to cover up and enjoy the sun responsibly.
That means that if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, it’s best to wear a hat and cover up your shoulders, neck, arms and any other part of your body that will take direct sunlight. Typical summer fabric has an SPF somewhere between 4 and 7. Generally, the tighter knit the fabric, the higher the protection.
The benefit of covering up instead of using topical sunscreen is that it doesn’t get into your bloodstream (here’s more about what’s in conventional sunscreen products and why we don’t necessarily want to put that on our skin before sitting in the sun), fabric doesn’t wash off or need to be re-applied, and its lower SPF still gets you some vitamin D.
It’s also important to build up sun exposure slowly. This is particularly important for anyone who lives in a colder, wintery climate. In the spring or summer, build up sun exposure gradually. This will give your skin time to respond by producing more melanin, which will offer increased levels of sun protection itself.
If you do need to use topical sunscreen, you’re best bet is a mineral block, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Part of choosing the right sunscreen is understanding what SPF means. Most people assume that the higher the number, the stronger it is. (That’s true, but only part of it!) We have an entire article with specific tips on choosing natural sunblock, and our favorite clean brands for sun care products.
4. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is important any time of year (the human body is about two-thirds water, and we need it for all bodily functioning!)—but it’s especially important in the summertime sun and heat.
In general, you’ll want to drink about two-thirds of your body weight in ounces of water each day. (In other words, a person weighing 100 pounds would aim for 67 ounces of water daily).
And, remember to boost your water take if you spend time in the heat—especially exercising or exerting yourself in the heat.
It’s recommended to add 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes you spend in the heat or sweating.
A simple tip to make staying hydrated easier is to use a healthy infused water recipe. Many people find infused water more enjoyable to sip on throughout the day, and the herbs and fruit provide some additional health benefits too!
5. Add more fresh fruits + veggies to your diet
Some of our most common nutrition tips that apply to everyone, of all different dietary needs and preferences, are to:
Summer is a great time to boost your diet with more fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies.
6. Understand (+ accept!) cellulite
Suns out, guns 💪 out—and swimsuits out!
When swimsuit season rolls around, many women are concerned about the presence of cellulite.
Cellulite, a common (but not always welcome) occurrence on ladies’ hips and thighs, is caused by a combination of genetics, aging & lifestyle.
Though it’s not something we can entirely eliminate (it’s natural!), there are a few things we can do to reduce the appearance of cellulite and feel more comfortable with that which we do have.
7. Practice self-care
Summer is one of the best times to start a new wellness routine—the longer days, brighter sunshine, fresh air tend to help us feel more energetic and optimistic and better able to set and reach our personal goals.
That means it’s a perfect time to get started with a new healthy lifestyle habit that you’d like to continue carrying into the colder, wintery months too.
Here’s our full article on the importance of establishing a healthy self-care routine, and dozens of our favorite self-care activity ideas to get you started.
8. Develop an exercise routine
For the same reasons establishing a self-care routine tends to be easier in the summer, the warmer summer months are also a great time to start (and stick with!) a new exercise routine.
10 Summer Wellness Tips for Healthy Living // Four Wellness Co. is written by Melissa Norton for fourwellness.co