Image by: frigilianatone
By Robert Spencer
It’s officially summer. That means more outdoor trips, more beach, more sun, and more happy times, right? Summer is known for being sunny and happy but there are as many health woes as there are health benefits.
#1) Good for Your Brain
There was a study done with children who suffered from ADHD. The study compared kids with ADHD who played indoors and those who played outside. They studied their symptoms and concluded that children who played outside showed fewer ADHD symptoms (even if the indoor and outdoor kids were doing the exact same activities, just in different locations).
What does this mean for us? Perhaps being out in the sun, where we can get fresh air helps to ease our mind and anxieties. It may serve as a way to help calm us down. I know that since I’ve stopped smoking, whenever I get angry I head out for a walk and it normally calms me down.
Did you know that the cancer that kills the most patients is skin cancer? We talk about a lot of different kinds but skin cancer (like melanoma) is the most dangerous. Yet we don’t put as much emphasis on it as we do colon cancer and breast cancer (yes, guys get breast cancer too) but it’s just as lethal.
So make sure that you grab the sunblock (reach for the SPF 30). I’ll talk more about healthy sun exposure later on but make sure that you’ve got sunblock in your car at all times.
#3) Easy on the Eyes (and Exercise)
Studies have shown that going out in bright colors helps to elevate our mood. That also means that going out to exercise helps motivate us because we generally are in a better mood when we are out in the bright light and vivid colors. Researchers even did a study with cyclists that proved that those that cycled in front of the color green showed “less mood disturbances” during their ride and that they felt less tired.
#4) Poisonous Plants
Summer means camping and hiking. Camping and hiking means that you should pay attention to what kinds of plants you’re rubbing up on. While most of the allergic reaction to these plants is strictly just uncomfortable itching (that can be treated with over the counter ointments and lotions), some people are highly allergic and can have more severe reactions.
Check out this quick video about how to avoid poison ivy, oak, and sumac:
Check out this quick video about how to treat poison ivy, oak, and sumac:
#5) Vitamin D Intake
Since very few foods actually carry Vitamin D, we normally have to take supplements during the winter (or all year). Most of us get to soak up somewhere around 85% of our Vitamin D by soaking up some of the natural stuff via sunshine. Vitamin D helps with bone and cell grown, immune function, it also helps reduce inflammation.
However, since I’ve already gone over dangerous sun exposure, let’s talk about (what Dr. Miachael F. Holick M.D., Ph.D. calls) “sensible sun exposure” which is about 15 minutes of direct sun exposure a day. That’s not enough to burn your skin and you get to soak up some great Vitamin D. After those 15 minutes, reach for the sunscreen.
#6) Dehydration and Kidney Stones
Some men compare passing a kidney stone to having a baby. While some say that, that is an overreaction, I say, “You have to idea until you’ve been through it.” And trust me, you don’t want to go through with it. Unfortunately, the number of people that have developed kidney stones is increasing rapidly.
So why is summer called “kidney stone season”? Because kidney stones are caused when we don’t have enough water in our kidney and urinary tract to help our body pass certain minerals. When it doesn’t have the right amount of liquid to help it pass, they begin to clump together and form stones in your kidneys.
That is one of the many reasons why you have to remember to stay hydrated in the summer. In the heat, we sweat more which can cause us to get dehydrated faster.
#7) Natural Stress Relief
Happy colors, fresh air, and the scent of the outdoors serves as a great way to relieve stress when you’ve had a bad day or if you just need to calm down a bit. That’s what makes a camping trip a bit like hitting the “reset” button.
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite summertime health benefits? What health problems do you run into every summer? Do you have any tips for beachgoers, hikers, and campers?