Summer is in full swing! Most people plan vacations for the middle of the summer when the beach is most appealing and the roads to the mountains are clear and easy to drive. No matter where you and your family are planning to go this year, make health a priority during your fun in the sun. Stay conscious of your body's limits, and encourage your family and friends to practice healthy habits that will help keep you safe this season.

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  • Hydrate

Many summer camps teasingly make the phrase "Hydrate or die!" a mantra for their campers, and though the threat may be a little drastic, it is no joke that our bodies need water. During long summer days, our bodies are more prone to sweat, and all those cell-nourishing water molecules evaporate. Make it a practice to pack refillable water bottles on pool trips and hikes, especially if you're travelling to high altitude locations. You can also stay hydrated by including foods with high water content, like watermelon, lettuce, and tomatoes, to your backyard barbecue.

  • Keep Sun Safe

Sun exposure is a leading cause of skin cancer and skin damage. Protecting yourself and your kids from sunburn is as easy as investing in broad-brimmed hats that cover your face and neck and using sunscreen. The Center for Disease Control recommends using 15 SPF or higher broad spectrum sunscreen and reapplying every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off (check out their website for more information).

  • Stay Active... and Take Breaks!

Just like anything else in life, balance is key. The same warm weather that makes long walks, pick-up sports in the park, and outdoor swimming possible can be potentially dangerous without plenty of time to cool down and hydrate. Consider sticking to the shade when the sun is highest in the afternoon to reduce the risk of heat stroke, but find out what's in walking distance of your front door or hotel room while the day is still cool in the morning or when it winds down at night. Also, make sure to get plenty of rest right before or after travelling. Long flights and drives can tax your immune system, and everyone does better with a good night's sleep.

  • Eat Fresh

Summer is the best time for fresh fruits and veggies! Scope out local stands and farmer's markets that sell in-season produce. If you live within driving distance of local farms, ask around to find pick-your-own deals on strawberries, cherries, apples, and peaches. Get to know your neighbors! Many people grow their own backyard gardens and might be willing to trade or give away excess zucchini or other fresh vegetables. Eating fresh and local is the healthiest way to go, and it tastes delicious!

Enjoy everything the summer season has to offer, including your health. Liberty HealthShare members are more equipped than most to pursue healthy lifestyles, and we are thrilled to be a part of such an incredible community! How are you staying healthy this summer?