A long holiday weekend is the perfect time to enjoy time with family and friends. Regardless if that means taking a trip out of town or staying local, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had. Although fun in the sun is an excellent way to utilize free time, it is important to make sure that it is healthy and safe.
The following tips will help you get the most out of your holiday weekend while also keeping you and your loved ones out of harm’s way.
1) Use Minimal Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a modern innovation that allows us to more safely enjoy our time outdoors. However, not all sunscreen is created equal and there can be hidden health risks that come with using it. When selecting the sunscreen that’s right for you, look for products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF range is also important and should optimally be between 15 and 50. There are many natural sunscreens available that can reduce one’s exposure to possibly harmful chemicals.
Perhaps the most important substance to avoid in sun protection products is oxybenzone. This organic compound blocks a great deal of ultraviolet light but it is also absorbed into the bloodstream. Studies have found that this chemical, that was previously considered healthy, negatively impacts reproductive and thyroid hormones. Effects of this compound in animal studies showed that it lowered sperm count, delayed puberty, and distorted estrous cycling. When selecting your sun protection this holiday weekend keep the above information in mind.
2) Get Moving
One of the best parts of a long weekend is that it gives one the opportunity to take advantage of great weather by playing outdoor sports and being active. Sunshine can help improve one’s energy levels and there is no better way to utilize that energy than by burning it off doing something fun and physical. Regardless if one prefers competitive or casual activities, holiday celebrations almost always include a wide selection of events and sports that suit various fitness levels and competitive preferences.
3) Keep it Cool
On hot days, especially if one is outside for long periods, there is danger of not only the body overheating but one’s picnic supplies and food as well. When food is exposed to warm temperatures for extended periods of time, bacteria that can cause food poisoning may become a problem. Rather than using a cooler filled with crushed or cubed ice, consider using large chunks of ice that last longer and help keep foodstuffs colder. Furthermore, if any refrigerated foods have been sitting out for more than 2 hours they should not be eaten and instead be thrown away or composted.
4) Stay Hydrated
If one is feeling fatigued and/or lightheaded during an afternoon outing, it is possible that they are dehydrated. Unfortunately, people often don’t drink enough water daily. By adding the heat and perspiration that comes with warm weather, being outdoors and physical activity there is increased risk of dehydration. This may be relieved by regularly drinking water in lieu of other beverages. Instead of grabbing a sugary drink from the cooler, take a bottle of water to quench the summer thirst.
5) Eat Well
Equally important as keeping the body cooled and hydrated is keeping it fueled with healthy foods. Unfortunately, many holiday weekend barbecues become overrun with sugary temptations. It is possible to enjoy a fun grilling experience while eating healthier options. Instead of providing danger foods like salty potato chips, fatty meats, and sodas try these alternatives:
- Lean turkey burgers
- Marinated grilled chicken breast
- Whole wheat burger and hotdog buns
- Grilled veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, peppers etc.)
- Organic baked corn chips
- Grilled peaches with honey (a great dessert option)
6) Prepare Foods Safely
Barbecuing is perhaps one of the most American activities one can imagine. However, if one does not take the proper precautions there can be hidden dangers that come with taking part in this activities. The process of charring meats can cause dangerous substances known as heterocyclic amines to form. This chemical compound can increase the risk of developing cancer. To help avoid possible carcinogens that may be created by grilling, coat the grill and the chosen meat in olive oil. Cooking at a lower temperature can also help reduce the occurrence of this harmful chemical.
7) Beat the Bugs
We are not the only ones who enjoy summer weather. Usually we must share our outdoor activities with our pesky winged neighbors. Bug bites account for a significant portion of the transference of disease. Lyme disease and West Nile virus, spread by ticks and mosquitoes respectively, can cause a serious damper on one’s weekend. Diseases such as these, and many others carried by insects, can have a severe impact on one’s life if not treated appropriately. Being vigilant in recognizing these conditions is important and it is beneficial to regularly check for ticks after spending time outdoors.
Thankfully we are not reliant solely on chemically formulated repellents and pesticides to protect us from possibly dangerous pests. There are natural bug repellents such as diluted liquid garlic concentrate, vinegar, or soybean oil that may help deter aggressive bugs from biting you and your family/friends. As an additional measure, you can use nets, fans, or covers to protect outdoor eating areas, strollers, and carriers.
The holiday weekend should be spent enjoying the outdoors with family and friends. After reading the above tips you are now equipped with the tools and information needed to ensure your holiday plans will be healthy, safe, and fun.