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Top tips to stay healthy in summer

Summer is officially here – and with a full season ahead of longer days, warm weather and (hopefully) a lot of sunshine, it’s a great time to relax, recharge, and take care of yourself before life gets busy again.

To get you started, we put together some tips from expert sources on how to stay healthy (and safe) this summer. Enjoy!

Be sunsmart

With glorious beaches and plenty of adventure to be had in nature, a love for the outdoors is ingrained in our Kiwi culture. But as much as we enjoy the sunshine, it’s important to remember how damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation can be for our skin and eyes.

SunSmart.org.nz has plenty of tips and handy resources to help you avoid the lobster look (and worse), and of course, the number-one tip is to slip, slop, slap and wrap. SunSmart recommends to “always use a broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen of at least SPF30”, and apply it using a ‘two coat’ approach: 20 minutes before going outside and again when you’ve been outside for 10 to 20 minutes (click here for more tips on how to use sunscreen correctly).

Other tips include using sun-protective clothes, seeking shade, wearing a hat and wrapping on UV-resistant sunglasses. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm.

Eat, drink and be merry but don’t overindulge

When it comes to food and drinks, the holiday festivities can be a time of temptation. And with barbecues out in full force and evenings filled with social gatherings, mindful eating isn’t always on the menu.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a bit of indulgence every now and then; as chef Nadia Lim put it, “it’s how you eat most of the time that matters, not the special occasion over-indulgence.” But make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.

Healfie.co.nz has some suggestions for enjoying the festive season without feeling guilty:

  • Be mindful of liquid calories – including both alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
  • Maintain eating routines – “Skipping meals in preparation for an event or upcoming meal can be tempting but often results in overeating.”
  • Opt to socialize instead of graze – “Socialising is a way to take extra time between bites.”
  • Make some modifications – When possible, maintain the celebratory feel of the food by swapping high-calorie ingredients with lower-calorie options.
  • Keep active – Nothing like outdoor activities with the family to burn off calories.

Plus, check out Healthyfood.co.nz for some summer recipe inspiration.

Stay active and hydrated

“Even the most avid gym junkies can be tempted to throw away their fitness schedules for BBQs with besties in the sun,” healthy food business Forty Thieves wrote on their blog. The good news is, there are ways to keep fit without giving up on socialising.

Whether it’s swimming, surfing or paddle-boarding with friends and family, activities in the ocean can be your gym with a view. Accountability is also key.

“Find yourself an exercise buddy who lives close to you, and has roughly the same level of fitness,” Forty Thieves says. “Map out your realistic routine together, and hold each other accountable. If someone else is watching, chances are, you’re more likely to get out of bed after a late night, and chuck on your running shoes.”

And of course, whatever you choose to do, always try your best to stay cool and hydrated – by drinking at least one or two glasses of water for every hour in the sun.

Speaking of water

Beaches, rivers, pools, lakes… Being in and around water is an integral part of the New Zealand way of life, but in the spur of the moment, it can be easy to overlook some basic safety steps.

As NewZealandNow.govt.nz points out, even if you are a good swimmer, it’s important to:

  • Never swim alone
  • Stay out of water when in doubt
  • Know your limits
  • Read and obey the safety signs
  • Supervise children near water
  • Learn how to recognise rips
  • Consider other people in the sea
  • When in trouble, keep calm and raise your hand in the air.

Like to enjoy the beach with peace of mind? Click here to find the best patrolled beaches near you.

And last but not least, relax

Tempted to use vacation time as a way to accomplish unfinished tasks? Don’t forget to leave your stressors behind and have some time just for yourself to unwind.

Meet an old friend for lunch, pick up a book, light a candle – having some fun and relaxation to your summer can help you reboot and start fresh.

Enjoy your time off! Looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.