Summer has finally arrived! It’s time to whip out the BBQs, dig out that swimwear and jet off on holiday for some well-deserved chill time on the beach. But for many of us, summer also brings with it temptations of excessive sun exposure, sweet treats (hello ice cream!), hay fever and other health woes – so it's just as important to look after ourselves in the warmer weather. Lucky for you, we've put together our top ten tips for staying happy and healthy this summer – keep these on your radar and enjoy your holidays guilt-free…
Wear your SPF!
It is important to use a sun lotion of at least SPF 30 – even better, 50 - in order to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. For sensitive skin, a mineral-based sunscreen is best. Try not to sit in the sun in peak hours between 10am and 4pm in order to minimise UV radiation, but of you are planning to be out in the sun for a long period of time, reapply suncream every two hours or immediately after swimming. Remember to use a facial sunscreen, too – just because there's SPF in your makeup, it's not enough!
Drink plenty of water
During the hot summer months, heat and sweat can leave your body dehydrated. A lack of water is harmful to your body and can also make you crave food when you're not actually hungry. It is incredibly important to keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least eight to nine glasses of water a day. Try adding some slices of cucumber or lemon to add a fresh flavour.
Beware of ‘healthy’ smoothies
Fruit smoothies are a great way to get keep refreshed throughout the summer, but watch out for smoothies made with frozen yoghurts, ice cream or too much fruit, as they're loaded with hidden calories! A better option is a green smoothie, made with both fruit and veggies – still sweet and delicious, but much lower in sugar.
Smoothies are delicious and healthy, but be wary of high sugar options
Summer means an increase of dead skin cells so it is important to exfoliate your skin to keep it smooth and silky. You don’t need to buy any expensive products to achieve that summer glow; simply use a loafer for a light scrub or make your own exfoliation lotion using a handful of oatmeal, milk and yoghurt.
Tackle hay fever
Summer can be unbearable at times for hay fever sufferers. Make sure you vacuum and clean your home regularly to get rid of excess pollen, and try to shower and change clothes after you've been outside. Sadly there's no miracle treatment, but get to your pharmacy to stock up on anti-histamine products and nasal sprays. Streaming eyes? Sunglasses are your friend!
Try some new salad recipes this summer
Keep up the exercise regime
Before you hide those running shoes in the wardrobe, remember summer exercise doesn’t have to stop because of the rising temperatures. On very hot days, change your exercise plan and take it indoors. Take a class, or try an online workout. It's best not to workout in the blazing sunshine, but on a cooler day there's nothing to stop you heading out for a run or bike ride – take plenty of water and wear SPF.
Why not try a summer dip at your local pool or gym? Or better yet, an outdoor lido. Start by swimming for 10 minutes and increase the time over the following weeks by doing front crawl, breaststroke or backstroke to mix up your cardio workout. A 30-minute session will burn almost 400 calories! If swimming laps isn’t your thing, you could try a water aerobics class.
Protect your hair
Our hair suffers a lot during the summer. Constant heat, sun damage and chlorine takes a toll on our hair and can leave it feeling limp and dull after the holidays. Try a clarifying shampoo to remove the chlorine and any excess product or sun cream, before using a conditioning treatment to add moisture back in. If you can, avoid heat styling.
We reckon yoga is best done outdoors
Eat well by the pool
When the sun is beating down, the idea of seeking out the nearest ice cream stand is seriously tempting. There's nothing wrong with a treat in the heat, but coming prepared with a healthy lunch will mean you get the nutrition you need. Fill your cool box with bottled water, sandwiches, vegetable sticks, hummus and salads.
Take up a new hobby
Summer is the perfect time to take up a new activity. Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and will actually help you burn some calories! Not your thing? Take inspiration from Wimbledon and try your hand at some tennis. Yoga or Pilates is the perfect alternative for some alone time in the garden, too – bring on the sun salutations...