Healthy holidays: How to make sure your stretch in the sun doesn’t do more harm than good

At last! The summer holidays and warmer temperatures are upon us. With the beach beckoning, why not take five minutes to refresh your memory on how to stay safe this summer? After all, no-one wants their stretch in the sun to do more harm than good. 

Here are our top tips to keep you and your family safe all season long…..

1. Staying Hydrated

Some do indeed like it hot. However, the human body can easily become overwhelmed by heat when it is adapting to exposure. Drinking water can help replace the fluids we lose through excessive sweating when the body temperature rises. 

If we are exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time and can’t replace the fluids lost, this can lead to dehydration and ultimately heat exhaustion. 

So our first tip is to make sure to drink plenty of water:
  • Start each day with adequate hydration, as it’s easier to maintain your fluid balance than try to replenish it. 
  • Set a reminder on your phone to drink water throughout the day and carry a reusable water bottle with you so you can track your intake.
  • Avoid too many caffeinated, alcoholic and high sugar drinks, as these can cause dehydration. Balancing your favourite holiday tipples with enough water will help to keep you properly hydrated and having fun. 
  • Eating fresh fruit and vegetables are also a great way to stay hydrated. Research from the University of Aberdeen has shown that certain low-fibre, water-rich foods may hydrate the body twice as effectively as water. These include watermelons, cucumbers, strawberries and bananas. Yum!

 

2. Staying Active 

If you intend to exercise outdoors while holidaying, our advice is to do it early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperates are cooler and the sun less intense. 

You can achieve a meaningful workout while on holiday by:

  • Going biking, on nature walks, climbing, canoeing, swimming, surfing and paddle boating.
  • Joining in on those water fights with the kids, chase them around the beach or challenge them to a race in the pool.
  • Sign up to any free activities hosted on-site such as aqua-aerobics, yoga and dance classes.
  • Substitute more body-weight exercises for strength training, such as squats, thrusts, lunges, planks, tricep dips etc. Make use of whatever space you have and take just a few minutes at a time to include some of these into your day.

It is also important to set realistic goals when it comes to keeping fit and eating well while on holiday. You are more likely to stay motivated and keep on track when you have written goals that are specific and measurable. The good news is skipping a few workouts for the first week of your holiday won’t negatively affect your overall fitness. In fact, your body could benefit from the break. And taking a hiatus from your regular routine can actually help you feel mentally refreshed and boost your motivation to exercise again.

And remember if you do exercise in the heat, as outlined, make sure you drink more water than you usually would.  Furthermore, hot temperatures can result in muscle spasms when the body hasn’t replaced it’s required salt levels. In this case, choose an electrolyte-replacing drink for maximum water absorption.  

Woman running against the background of a sunset

3. HOLIDAY FOOD: MODERATION AND BALANCE

It is often much cheaper and easier to eat out while abroad. But it can then also be difficult to assess the nutrient quality, the number of calories and fat content of meals and snacks.

Therefore, our best advice is:

  • Don’t deprive yourself of anything you really want but control your overall intake and balance your treats. For example, if you eat an indulgent three-course meal for dinner, choose a healthier breakfast and lighter lunch the next day.
  • Listen to your body and stop eating once you’re full.
  • Ask for a half-portion or for unfinished food to be boxed at the end of the meal, if portion sizes are too big.
  • Similarly, in relation to alcohol, if you had a few too many cocktails one night, take it easy the night after.
  • Enjoy every treat, don’t feel guilty or regret anything. You are there to enjoy yourself!

All of the above will help you to maintain your weight but also leave you feeling more energetic to enjoy your holiday.

4. Protecting Your Eyes 

Perhaps it goes without saying that sunglasses are a summer essential, if you want to protect your eyes from sun damage. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) light can cause sunburned eyes, known as photokeratitis, which can cause sore, itchy eyes and blurred vision.  

  • For the ultimate protection, wear sunglasses that protect the whole eye, including the lens and cornea, eyelid and skin. For example, wrap-around sunglasses will provide the best coverage as they block UV rays coming from all sides as well as over and under the lenses. 
  • Always check to make sure your chosen eyewear will block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. 
  • Lens protection rated 3 or over means you will get high sun glare reduction and good ultraviolet protection. 

 

5. Caring For Your Skin

The summer weather can take a toll on the skin. High temperatures, humidity and UV rays can all lead to skin damage. And this skin damage can lead to premature ageing, burns on the skin and an increased risk of skin cancer. Additionally, air pollutants in big cities can leave the skin dry, dull and at risk of inflammation. 

So to prevent this potential harm to your skin, you can protect it by:

  • Moisturising daily. Switch your moisturising cream to a lighter formula, one that is rich in antioxidants and has a high SPF in it. 
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day to protect your skin from within, ensuring it is hydrated and help prevent dryness.  
  • Apply sun cream at least 20 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun. Use a product that has an SPF of 30 or higher which will help you prevent skin reddening from UVB rays for 30 times longer than without it. 
  • Furthermore, check your cream prevents against UVA rays, with PA ratings in the form of + on the back. The higher the number of +++ the better! 
  • Finally, re-hydrate your skin after sun exposure by taking a cold shower or use a cooling sheet mask for the face. Choose a mask with fine cellulose fibres that help to achieve optimal revitalisation. And if you need to soothe any sunburn, natural aloe vera gel is the perfect remedy.

 

 

We hope you all have a happy, healthy summer holiday! If you would like to find out more about Gym Plus, why not download a free guest pass here and try us out. And if you and a friend would like to become a member in July, we have a limited join offer where you only pay a €2 joining fee! So get in touch today!

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