Summer is just around the corner! We often begin spending more time outside with summer activities and the longer days. You may be looking forward to the lazier days of summer or dreading the Louisiana heat. Either way, staying healthy and well in the dog days of summer begins with proper hydration, healthy eating, and physical activity.
A great habit to develop is drinking plenty of water especially if you are outside in the heat. Avoid drinks that can be dehydrating such as those containing caffeine or alcohol. Fresh produce is more plentiful during the summer months so take advantage of these foods which are powerhouses for good nutrition. Visit a farmers’ market or try growing your own produce to get fresh fruits and vegetables at great prices. Garden fresh herbs can boost both the flavor and nutritional benefits of summer meals.
Start slow if you want to exercise outside during the summer months. The National Institutes of Health recommend allowing 10 days to 2 weeks to acclimate to the hotter temperatures. If possible, perform outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day. Water workouts such as water aerobics are a great way to stay fit and cool at the same time. Drink water before, during, and after any workout.
Keep food safety in mind when enjoying picnics or other outdoor activities. Foods should be kept at safe temperatures outside of the danger zone of 40 degrees F to 140 degrees F. It’s important to keep cold foods stored below 40 degrees F, and hot foods above 140 degrees F. You will want to have a cooler with plenty of ice or other cold source to safely store foods on the go.
Enjoying the change of pace that summer often brings can be a welcome release. Remember to stay hydrated as you beat the heat this summer. I’m looking forward to a sweet, juicy watermelon!
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture