Just because you have turned the ‘Big 5-0’ doesn’t mean the summer fun has to be over. In fact, the comfort and relaxation of a summer day can be yours anytime you need it, especially if you have moved to a retirement community in a warmer region. The only difference is that you will want to take a few precautions to protect your health and well-being while enjoying the summer sunshine.
Why is it so important to take care of your health this summer?
Statistically speaking, adults over the age of 50 tend to be at a higher risk for summer related illnesses and accidents. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 67 percent of adults over the age of 65 report some form of disability, more men than women in this age group smoke or use alcohol, and more mature people are generally more apt to experience injuries due to accidents and physical limitations. Add to this the need to preserve the physical strength and health that you have at mid-life, and you can understand why it’s important to be mindful of your health during the more active summer months.
Tips for staying healthier in the summer
The good news is that it’s possible to avoid being a statistic with some simple behavioral changes. Use these tips for a healthier summer after 50.
- 1. Reduce sun exposure
One of the most common hazards to people of all ages is that of overexposure to the summer sun. Ultraviolet rays can be damaging to skin cells and older folks are more prone to skin cancer. Use a moderate sunscreen, wear light-blocking clothing that covers the extremities, and make friends with a comfortable summer hat.
- 2. Protect your eyesight
You’ve only got one set of eyes, so you better take good care of them in the summer. According to WebMD, getting too much sunlight into the eyes can cause macular degeneration, vision loss and cataracts later in life. Wear a good pair of protective sunglasses when you are outside and look for those that block 100 percent of UV rays.
- 3. Stay hydrated at all times
During the summer heat, the body sheds as much as one-quarter of its hydration in the form of perspiration. Therefore, it’s easy to become dehydrated in very little time. Therefore, it’s important to maintain your body water levels by keeping a water bottle on hand at all times, and getting about 8 cups of water into the body daily.
- 4. Eat healthy and safely
Summer outings often include plenty of good food, cooked on the grill or picked from the garden. Try to avoid the ills of food poisoning by eating only foods that are well cooked and to the right temperature. Wash all produce well before eating. Avoid high-calorie salads made with mayonnaise as they can cause tummy troubles.
- 5. Watch the heat
When the summer months heat up, the body can become overheated. This is a problem even if you stay indoors. Make sure your home is air conditioned with plenty of ventilation. Avoid sitting for more than a few minutes in a vehicle.
- 6. Plan ahead
You can help reduce your chance of injury or illness by planning ahead on all outings. Pack a cool drink, bring a comfortable chair, and use an umbrella to keep the sun off you. Slow down and enjoy the summer without any accidents.
- 7. Moderate activity
Resist the urge to go go go all summer long. Pace yourself and avoid taking on too many physical activities without giving yourself some down time. Even having fun can make you forget to eat or drink enough water.
- 8. Get enough rest
Everybody needs 7-8 hours of rest every day in order to stay at optimal health. After the age of 50, you may find it a struggle to get enough sleep. To make up for this by planning short cat naps throughout the week.
Fortunately, the summer can be the perfect time to connect with friends and family members. Enjoy life and experience all the things you want to, with careful regard for your health and well-being.
Tess C. Taylor, PHR is a certified Web Content Manager, Human Resources Professional, and Career Coach with nearly two-decades of writing experience. Tess also founded the popular blogazine The HR Writer. As a regular contributor to multiple HR and Business publications, including Benefitfocus, Dale Carnegie Institute, HR Magazine, PayScale, and US News Careers, Tess is dedicated to educating others about important human resources and marketing topics worldwide. You can connect with Tess on Google+ , Facebook and LinkedIn.