Putting your health and well-being first this summer


Summer has finally arrived! As we enter the new season, there’s plenty to get excited about! As the sun comes out and we have more opportunities for adventures, we may forget to prioritise our health. However, it's important to make our health a priority during this time. We’ve built a guide to prioritising your health and well-being during the summer season…


Stay motivated

Winter and January are popular times for people to focus on getting fit and improving their health. However, for many people exercising in the spring and summer months is much more appealing. 

A poll of 2,000 adults revealed that they exercise an average of four times a week during summer. However, during the winter months it was reported that the participants were 31% less active. More than a third live a healthier lifestyle generally in the summer compared to the winter.

Not everyone finds summer more motivating for exercise. The longer daylight hours can help, but summer activities can also interfere with workouts. For example, festivals and weddings are popular in the summer months, and people tend to spend more time in the sun with family and friends.

Additionally, hot summers in the UK can make it harder to exercise and leave us feeling tired and sluggish, as our bodies need to work harder to keep us cool. When it's hotter we’re more likely to become dehydrated, leading to tiredness.


Here are a couple of ways to motivate yourself to work out during the summer months (when the temperature is safe).

  • Set goals to work towards, goals always help us to feel motivated. People who set goals are 43% more likely to achieve them.

  • If it’s not too hot, take your workout outside! Working out outside can improve mood and allow us to feel more energised.

  • Exercising with a friend can help us to stay accountable and less likely to skip workouts compared to exercising alone.

In the summertime, it's a good opportunity to exercise outside. Running, walking, rowing, golf, tennis and sports clubs are great outdoor activities to try out.

Enjoy in season foods

A new season brings new foods. Eating natural foods, such as fruit and vegetables brings many benefits that include:

  • A good source of vitamins and minerals.

  • Reduced risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and strokes.

  • Contributing to a healthy and balanced diet.

Some of the foods that come into season in summer are:

  • Carrots, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, aubergines, summer squash, plums, sweetcorn, blackcurrants, gooseberries, strawberries, rhubarb and beetroot.

Eating foods that are in season has many benefits. They taste fresher, riper, and sweeter, and it also supports local farming, which is better for the environment.

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Protect yourself in the sun

Topping up our skin with SPF is crucial during the hotter months of the year. Even on days that don't seem scorching, you should frequently wear SPF, even if you're not just sitting in the sun. The NHS recommends aiming to strike enough of a balance to protect yourself from the sun whilst getting enough Vitamin D.

To protect your skin, stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm, this is when the sun in the UK is at its strongest. Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and 4-star UVA protection. Make sure sunscreen is in date to ensure it is most effective in protecting your skin.

A UV index will tell you how strong the sun's ultraviolet rays are, three or above and you should be wearing sunscreen. One of the most significant risks of sunburn is skin cancer.

Exercising in hot weather without drinking enough water can risk heatstroke or dehydration. Signs of heatstroke include flushed skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid breathing, feelings of confusion, agitation, slurred speech and irritability. In extreme cases, heatstroke can require emergency treatment.

When trying to work out in hot weather, you can reduce risks of heat stroke by: staying hydrated, working out when the temperature is at its coolest (avoiding the 11am – 3pm window), keeping skin protected, taking regular breaks or simply taking your workout inside during particularly hot days.  


Get some vitamin D

Embrace the vitamin D as much as you can, safely! Sunny days are a rarity in the UK, but they do bring many benefits to our health and well-being, including vitamin D. Helping to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, vitamin D can provide the nutrients needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Other physical benefits include reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system. Vitamin D can play a role in regulating your mood and decreasing risks of depression. A vitamin D deficiency, which can be common in people who live in a highly populated area, spend a lot of time indoors, older people or people with darker skin, can negatively affect mental health. Which is why it's important to get vitamin D when we can, whilst prioritising the safety of our skin and health first.

Stay hydrated

When the weather is hotter it's essential to drink more. Drinking enough water helps lubricate joints and eyes, aids digestion, and keeps skin healthy. Bupa recommends drinking at least 2-2.5 litres of water per day.

When it’s hot, our body needs more water as we sweat more. It can be easy to forget to drink when you’re busy in the summer, or may feel unnatural if you’re not as active as usual, but staying hydrated will help to keep you motivated and keep your health and well-being on top form.

To stay hydrated, you can eat water-rich foods like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, and broccoli. You can also add fruit or vegetables to your water or drink fruit juices for extra vitamins and minerals. Avoid over drinking alcohol and continue to drink water whilst drinking alcohol. Learn more about staying healthy and hydrated.



Reduce alcohol intake

Summer in the UK is often synonymous with flocking to beer gardens, but it's good to be mindful of the risks of dehydration when drinking alcohol.

Alcohol can make us dehydrated because it makes our body remove fluids from our blood faster than other drinks. Not drinking water with alcohol can quickly cause dehydration.

To prevent dehydration from alcohol, make sure to eat before you start drinking, choose beverages with lower alcohol content and keep track of how much you are consuming.

Dehydration aside, alcohol can also have other effects which can be negative to our health or affect our health and well-being goals. Some temporary or lower risk effects include, anxiety, memory loss, headache, sickness and tiredness. Often a hangover can also affect the days following consuming a lot of alcohol too, it may mean you lack motivation and energy for usual activities.

Alcohol also affects sleep quality, disrupting sleep cycles and undermining good habits.

Drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke by raising your blood pressure. Binge or heavy drinking over time can also cause an irregular heart beat. Regular drinking of alcohol can make you prone to lung infections such as pneumonia. More about mindful drinking and reducing alcohol intake.

Those are some of our top tips to prioritise when trying to put your health first this summer, so come rain and shine, hopefully you can go into this new season feeling motivated to put your health and well-being first, and feel good all summer long!

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