Summer is here and this has many of us excited to get out and enjoy the season’s benefits. Summer is also a great time to enjoy extra health benefits that come with the warm, sunny season. For those of us who live in tropical climates, this may not be such a big deal. However, for those of us in the Northern latitudes, the summer season is an important time to take the most advantage of what this season offers.
Thus, here are some simple summer health benefits for you and your family to keep in mind this season.
1. Free Vitamin D
With the sunny and warm weather abundant, we have the luxury of obtaining and replenishing our vitamin D amounts.
Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins (also considered a hormone) for numerous reactions in your body, for optimal health.
Vitamin D strengthens your immune system, plays a key role in cancer prevention, bone strength and building, metabolism and overall good emotional health.
Having been unfortunately taught to avoid the sun over the last few decades and block our skin from one of the most crucial reactions, we have a lot to reverse today, as most of us are suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Therefore, be sun smart and choose some periods where large areas of your skin are openly exposed to the sun’s rays.
2. Extra Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
The sun and warmth also of course stimulate all sorts of growth. This is the season where we can enjoy normally abundant fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Thus, this is also the season to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet easily.
Seek out local farmers, farms or farmer’s markets that can provide you with the freshest produce. If that is not possible, make a point to be conscious at your grocery store of what is grown locally and choose those produce options over imported ones.
Summer heat normally also drives down our hunger, as our body does not need to expand as much energy to keep us warm. This also makes a lot of us shy away from heavy meals and hence is another great reason to look towards fresh fruits and vegetables to make lighter meals from. From delicious cold fruit and/or vegetable juices, smoothies and salads, to cool summer soups, fresh homemade fruit sorbets and more!
Load up this summer on the most nutrient dense and often delicious foods on this planet and enjoy better health in the process.
3. More Opportunities For Physical Activity
The sun and the warmth literally call us outside. This type of weather opens the doors to countless ways of being active, while enjoying the great outdoors.
From walks and jogs, to hikes, bike rides, swimming, Frisbee throwing, outdoor yoga, badminton, soccer and the list goes on and on!
There are numerous ways to get more active on a daily basis in the summer months, so pick your favorite activities and get on out there!
Health wise you strengthen your bones through physical activity, your heart, your immune system, muscles and more!
4. More Opportunities for Sweating
This might sound funny at first, but increased opportunities for sweating are actually a great health benefit. As most of us don’t exercise or exercise enough to break a proper sweat all year, the summer months allow that to happen almost naturally. Sweating is a key component in good detoxification for best health, and yet we block our pores with chemical antiperspirants daily and don’t get physical enough to break a good sweat. Thus leave the antiperspirants behind this summer when enjoying the outdoors. Use a natural deodorant if you are super sensitive to the scent, but otherwise go out there, enjoy yourself and allow your body to do what it was designed to do naturally for best health results.
5. More Opportunities to Walk Barefoot
A lot of us give this habit very little, if any attention and yet it is a key component of great health. With the warm weather and more time outdoors, we have more opportunities to walk barefoot. Whether on a beach, or perhaps just in your own backyard, this simple habit has 2 main health benefits. The first is a free reflexology massage. Okay, okay so it is not the same as going to a reflexologist, but you still gain some benefits. Ancient healers knew that the body is connected in many ways throughout, and thus today we can easily find a map of our foot with pressure points that correlate to all of our major organs and parts. In reflexology, these are stimulated to open up blockages, or stimulate a sluggish area, etc. While walking barefoot, especially on uneven surfaces, like sand or rocky beaches, you are stimulating many of those pressure points yourself. Some of the benefits of this are better digestion, elimination, enhanced immune function, backache healing and much more! The second major benefit of walking barefoot is to get a grounding effect. Today due to our lifestyles and clothing choices, we are literally disconnected from the Earth. Yet, we build up a lot of charges within us from all the electromagnetic sources around us, as well as the technology we use. Walking barefoot on the Earth allows for natural grounding to take place. Many holistic healers are teaching today the importance of this for all parts of optimal health and are even promoting grounding blankets, etc. Well, walking on the Earth barefoot is free, and can be loads of fun, as you connect with the Earth and enjoy a balancing, cleansing and grounding effect for your whole body. Naturally, choose areas that are safe and free of debris, sharp objects or stinging insects for best results.
6. More Opportunities for Fresh Air
Another key area to our health is fresh air, and with the majority of us living indoors 90% of our lives, we simply do not get enough.Fresh air is key to good health. In the Eastern traditions air or breathing is referred to as “prana” – the vital life force. Many of these traditions and other Indigenous people knew the importance of proper breathing and fresh air and practised this regularly. In our Western culture however, most of us breathe very shallow on a daily basis, actually signifying to our bodies a stress response and breathe very poor quality air. Therefore this summer get yourself and your family out into areas of low smog and pollution and enjoy just breathing! If you don’t want to make it a formal exercise in any way, just being and enjoying yourself outdoors in nature, will do the job for you.
7. Overall Good Feeling
The sun light makes us feel good – this is a known fact, and one of the reasons we have so many people suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the dark, cold months. Thus this summer, make the most of the season enjoying all the outdoors can offer. Turn off the television, put away the video games and just get on out there. Whether it is family picnics, gardening, physical activities or just being in the atmosphere of the warm, summer sun – infuse yourself with the natural “happy” state that is abundant at this time!
So remember to stay well hydrated with fresh water, enjoy the sun sensibly and simply have fun.
Evita Ochel is a consciousness expansion teacher, whose passions and expertise span all areas of the mind, body, and spirit. She is a writer, speaker, holistic nutritionist, yoga and meditation teacher, video producer, and author of Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition. Evita is the creator of several online publications that feature hundreds of articles and videos, as well as classes and courses to empower individuals to consciously create their life and be the change they wish to see. For more information about her work, visit: www.evitaochel.com