Ever since childhood, when the day rolled around each year for school to release for the season, many of us began loving summertime. Running through the sprinklers, catching fireflies and eating ice cream were often synonymous with summer. As adults, there are still plenty of reasons to relish and embrace the summer season – and we picked the top five that are also full of health benefits!
An abundance of fresh produce. Whether you nurture a backyard home garden, check out the local farmer’s market, or shop the corner grocer, there is no shortage of ripe and delicious seasonal produce to choose from. Be sure to add these (organic) veggies to your shopping list: radishes, arugula, cucumber, beets, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini and corn. Beets are especially delicious pickled, and zucchini and corn exude even more flavor when grilled. As for choosing (organic) fruits: apricots, plums, cherries, blackberries, nectarines, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, all melons, lemons and limes are all at their peak. From enhancing cereal and yogurt to baking a few pie treats, the options are almost endless with the great variety available. Even better, try using fresh produce to make one of our amazing Garden Recipes!
It’s the season for vacation. For a long time, statistics showed that Americans were not using all of their rightly earned vacation days. As a result, rates of burnout, stress and depression were on the rise. However, that trend has fortunately turned. More people are now realizing the proven benefits of taking vacation, including improved mental health, increased productivity, a reduced risk of heart disease and even improved relationships.
More opportunity to get outside. For many people, fitting in an outdoor workout during the fall and winter months can be a challenge. Summer not only boasts the longest day of the year, but also lots of plentiful hours of sunlight each day for fitting in a walk, run or other activity. Spending time in nature has been proven to relieve stress and increase mood, and a good sweat can be a great detox (as long as plenty of water is consumed to rehydrate afterwards). A mere 10 minutes of sunlight is enough to receive your daily dose of essential vitamin D – just be sure to slather on a natural sunscreen and a throw on a wide-brimmed hat to stay sun-safe.
Perfect temperatures for swimming. When choosing an outdoor activity, there’s no better time than the warm months of summer to take advantage of an outdoor swim. Swimming not only utilizes all the muscle groups with minimal impact, but also improves strength via natural resistance. It’s therefore a great activity for people with joint and arthritis pain.
The heart stays healthier. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for loving summer is that it is a healthier season for the heart. Studies have found that the risk for dying from a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or other circulatory disease is 26 to 36 percent higher in the winter.