bugspraySummer is upon us, and this is the best time of year to get fit and stay healthy. Like everything else related to summer, keep things easy and simple so you can make the best health decisions without losing your cool. These 5 health tips are easy to implement and will help you enjoy the most of your summer.

1) Get Plenty of Vitamin D  This is the best time of year to get Vitamin D because it is free! Our skin makes vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight, which means we do not have to purchase supplements. 15-20 minutes a day during the strongest rays (10 am to 2 pm) with the most skin exposed will generally provide individuals with their optimal daily dose. But this needs to be done without sunscreen! Sunscreen will block the reaction between our skin and the sun and prevent the production of Vitamin D in our body. If you are unable to tolerate the sun, supplementation of 5000-10,000 IU’s a day is necessary. Vitamin D has been shown to boost the immune system, promote healthy bones and teeth, prevent cancer, fight depression, help brain development (especially in pregnancy and infancy), stop inflammation and more. It has a large impact on our global health and deficiencies show up in almost all body systems. To determine your levels, a simple blood test can be taken at your doctor’s office. Optimal levels should be around 50-60 ng/ml. Vitamin D from the sun and supplementation can boost your levels safely and naturally. And what could be easier than getting the best vitamin around simply by stepping out your front door?

2) Eat Fresh, Local Produce  With an abundance of local farmer’s markets and Community Supported Agricultures (CSA’s) in our area, there is really no excuse for eating poorly in the summer. Eating fresh, local produce is the healthiest thing you can do for your body. Full of essential vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, fiber, water and other nutrients, it is also low in calories and keeps you feeling full for a long time. Many dark colored veggies also contain compounds that decrease inflammation and naturally protect your skin from sunburn. Some plants, such as garlic, may also help stop bugs from feasting on you as well! If you are part of a CSA, you don’t even have to “shop” anywhere! Just go to your pick-up location and load up your bags of produce that are already waiting for you. And to make it even easier to use the veggies that you buy, many farmers will include recipes, storage, and preparation tips with your CSA package! This takes the hard work out of incorporating new produce into your menu planning.

3) Exercise  In the wintertime, you may find it more difficult to get adequate exercise without having a gym membership or equipment at home. But in the summer, everything outside can be your gym! We are fortunate to live in an area with an abundance of hiking and biking trails, state parks, lakes, and many other places to find outdoor recreation. Many places are free or inexpensive. Instead of logging hours on a treadmill or exercise bike, grab your headphones and get on the trail or your bike. Stop at a park and set up a circuit training or obstacle course workout. Jungle gyms are great for pull-ups picnic tables are great for step aerobics. Swim some laps at a local pool or do water aerobics in a nearby lake. The possibilities are endless, you don’t need a trainer, and there is no line for equipment! Plus, you get the added bonus of fresh air and sunshine. And no gym locker smell either.

4) Use Essential Oils for Summer Skincare  Two products that are used heavily in the summer are sunscreen and bug spray. Two products that are full of toxins are sunscreen and bug spray. Both contain chemicals that may prove more harmful than the sun and bugs, both. Essential oils are a wonderful way to create safe, healthy and natural products for use on the skin. Many oils are excellent at repelling ticks, mosquitos, bees, biting flies, and can also treat stings and bites if they occur. The most common ones are eucalyptus, cedarwood, citronella, lemongrass, pennyroyal, tea tree, geranium, catnip, clove, lavender, thyme, yarrow, rosemary, garlic and peppermint. Neem oil also works great by itself. Oils can be mixed with water, alcohol, witch hazel, or vodka to make a spray, diluted with a carrier oil such as almond oil and rubbed on the body, or simply dabbed on. The possibilities with oils are endless. While oils alone may not prevent a sunburn, they can be used after a burn to soothe and lessen the severity. A simple mixture of lavender, peppermint and water in a spray bottle is a great post-sun spray to soothe sore skin. Simple remedies that are safe for kids and pets.

5) Bodywork for Sore Muscles  Since we tend to be more active and physical in the summer, our muscles and joints often pay the price. Whether running, playing sports or gardening, an increase in physical activity can cause our bodies some discomfort. Instead of running to the medicine cabinet for some over the counter pain relief, try some bodywork that will actually fix the problem, promote healing and prevent future injuries. Chiropractic is a great way to realign the spine and extremities, balance the nervous system, relax muscles, and promote healing. Instead of simply covering up pain symptoms with drugs, chiropractic adjustments fix the cause of the pain, and in turn, makes your body even stronger and healthier. Massage therapy is great for reliving sore and tired muscles, removing built up toxins and lactic acid, improving lymph flow, and promoting overall relaxation. Together, chiropractic and massage can keep your physical body going strong throughout all of your summertime activities.

Summer is a great time to get healthy on all levels, but it is important not to overdo it. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the best that summer has to offer.

About the Author

Dr. Brenda Trudell is a chiropractor and owner of New Beginnings Chiropractic in Mount Horeb, WI. The clinic focuses on natural health, especially for women, pregnancy and children through chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, fitness, nutrition, essential oils, and more. As a female chiropractor, she understands the special circumstances surrounding women's health. Men and women are not created equal, and it is important to acknowledge that in the healthcare world. She strives to find the most current healthcare information to help all of her patients.

Dr. Trudell is available to present to groups on many different topics. Please contact the office for details or with any questions. Dr. Trudell is certified in the Webster Technique. For more information, visit newbeginningschiropractic.net or email at brendatrudell@drtrudell.com.