It's almost here! Summer is well and truly on its way, so here are my three top tips to help you stay healthy in the hot weather.
1. Top up your vitamin D levels
Summer is the best time to do this. The human body can make its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but many of us are deficient – a recent study showed that more than half of adults in the UK do not have enough vitamin D. Deficiency is most likely to occur in pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children, vegans and the elderly.
Vitamin D is needed to aid the absorption of calcium and therefore contributes to strong bones and teeth. A severe lack of vitamin D can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. These diseases weaken the bones and can lead to permanent deformities if not treated.
During the winter months, most of the Northern Hemisphere doesn't receive enough UVB rays from the sun in order for the skin to make vitamin D so you'll have to get it from your diet. You can find it in oily fish and in small amounts in eggs and dairy products.
However, the summer sun is strong enough to allow us to make our own vitamin D. Ten to fifteen minutes outside a few times a week without any sunscreen will help your body to top up its vitamin D levels. If you can't get out much or have to keep your body covered, consider taking a supplement.
2. Stay hydrated
Make sure you avoid dehydration during the long, hot days by carrying a bottle of water everywhere with you and sipping it throughout the day. If you don't like the taste of plain water, make it a little more exciting by adding small pieces of fruit.
Other drinks such as juices, smoothies, coconut water and green tea also count towards the two litres per day you should be aiming for. Drink up!
3. Go for a swim
This is the perfect summer activity. The water is refreshing and because swimming is an aerobic exercise which works all the major muscles, you'll get a great cardio workout and improve your strength, stamina and muscle tone. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Not a fan of swimming? Just go for a paddle. The cold water on your feet will cool you down and help you feel relaxed.
So why not grab a few friends and go for a dip in the pool this summer!
Also in this series:
Health and Fitness Tips for Spring