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Feature Article:

Hot tips for a fun, healthy summer

(ARA) - Summer means Americans will spend more time outdoors and increase their level of activity in general. Staying healthy in the summer is just as important as staying warm and protecting your body from the elements during the fall and winter months.

During the summer, people will spend more time at sports events, participate in sports events, attend outdoor picnics, go to outdoor concerts, go to the beach and take long walks outdoors to get fresh air and recuperate from being indoors all winter. Along with the increased activity comes exposure to airborne germs and diseases. The recent outbreak of Swine Flu, also known as H1N1, has heightened public interest in how to remain healthy during such an outbreak.

Dr. Kevin Swanson, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs at Argosy University, Twin Cities recommends helpful tips on how to prevent or reduce the risk of summer colds, the flu and maintain good health during the warm weather.

"When coming out of winter hibernation, be sure to ease into a more active summer routine to avoid possible injury. By following a few helpful tips, you can achieve a healthier summer," Swanson says.

1. Practice good hygiene. Wash hands often, use hand sanitizers and use sanitary wipes to disinfect surfaces like shopping carts, doorknobs, light switches and handrails.

2. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the warm summer months. Adults should drink at least eight glasses of water each day.  Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol which tend to dehydrate the body.

3. Get plenty of rest each night. Eight hours of sleep is the standard recommendation, but the actual amount needed varies depending on the individual person.

4. Make healthy food choices. Fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that active summer bodies need.

5. Take a daily multi-vitamin to ensure the body is getting the necessary nutrients.

6. Remember to apply sunscreen before sun exposure and to avoid the midday sun when the rays are the strongest.

7. Exercise at least three times a week. Physical exercise may include workouts at a gym, walking, jogging, biking and other forms of cardiovascular stimulation.

"A healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight; making one small healthy change each week can result in a substantially healthier person over time,” Swanson says.

Overall, summertime is great for outdoor activities and family fun that will promote an active, healthy lifestyle. Please remember these recommendations promote good health and a healthy lifestyle and may not always prevent illness, but will help prevent the frequency and severity of an illness if it occurs.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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